Training Principle-Based Self-Explanations: Transfer to New Learning Contents


The present study tested the transfer effects of a short training intervention on principled-based self-explanations. The intervention used fables and mathematics as "exemplifying" domains for training such self-explanations. The effects were tested in a transfer learning environment about attribution theory. In this experiment, 58 high-school students were randomly assigned to the self-explanation training condition or a control condition (i.e., mnemonic strategies). The learning outcomes from the transfer environment did not significantly differ between groups. However, those students who reported to have applied the strategies from the training intervention actually showed superior learning outcomes. The self-explanation training intervention "convinced" just part of the learners to engage in principle-based self-explanations. There seems to be two options to achieve more reliable effects in the future: The use of clearer prompts to employ the learned strategies in the transfer environment or a more extended training intervention to have stronger effects on spontaneous strategy application.

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