Learning from instructional explanations: Effects of prompts based on the active-constructive-interactive framework

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Abstract

Although instructional explanations are commonly provided when learners are introduced to new content, they often fail because they are not integrated into effective learning activities. The recently introduced active-constructive-interactive framework posits an effectiveness hierarchy in which interactive learning activities are at the top; these are then followed by constructive and active learning activities, respectively. Against this background, we combined instructional explanations with different types of prompts that were designed to elicit these learning activities and tested the central predictions of the active-constructiveinteractive framework. In Experiment 1, N = 83 students were randomly assigned to one of four combinations of instructional explanations and prompts. To test the active < constructive learning hypothesis, the learners received either (1) complete explanations and engaging prompts designed to elicit active activities or (2) explanations that were reduced by inferences and inference prompts designed to engage learners in constructing the withheld information. Furthermore, in order to explore how interactive learning activities can be elicited, we gave the learners who had difficulties in constructing the prompted inferences adapted remedial explanations with either (3) unspecific engaging prompts or (4) revision prompts. In support of the active < constructive learning hypothesis, we found that the learners who received reduced explanations and inference prompts outperformed the learners who received complete explanations and engaging prompts. Moreover, revision prompts were more effective in eliciting interactive learning activities than engaging prompts. In Experiment 2, N = 40 students were randomly assigned to either (1) a reduced explanations and inference prompts or (2) a reduced explanations and inference prompts plus adapted remedial explanations and revision prompts condition. In support of the constructive < interactive learning hypothesis, the learners who received adapted remedial explanations and revision prompts as add-ons to reduced explanations and inference prompts acquired more conceptual knowledge.

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Roelle, J., Müller, C., Roelle, D., & Berthold, K. (2015). Learning from instructional explanations: Effects of prompts based on the active-constructive-interactive framework. PLoS ONE, 10(4). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0124115

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