Effects of Brief Analogical Training after Two-Week Delay


There is considerable evidence that analogical comparison can foster STEM learning. For example, Gentner, Levine, Dhillon, & Poltermann (2009) used comparison to teach 6-8-year-old children an important engineering principle: namely, that a diagonal brace confers stability in construction. Children compared two buildings, one with a diagonal brace, and one with a horizontal (nonbracing) piece instead. After the comparison, children were shown an unstable building, and were given a piece to stabilize it. Children who received the comparison training were more likely to attempt to stabilize the building with a diagonal placement of the piece. We extended this research to (a) test for retention after two weeks and (b) examine effects of relational labeling (which has been theorized to support long-term retention) The results indicate that the training utilizing comparison and relational labeling elicited more diagonal placements both after a brief delay, and after a delay of two weeks.

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