From Dissimilar to Similar: Reverse Fading Assistance Improves Learning

AbstractWhen students solve problems with access to examples show- ing worked out solutions, they often resort to shallow methods like copying that do not result in learning. An open question is therefore how to encourage deeper processing in this type of instructional context. To address this question, in the present study, we investigate the impact of manipulating problem- example similarity over the course of a problem-solving session in several ways, including faded assistance (high to low similarity), reverse faded assistance (low to high similarity), and a control group with high, constant assistance. We found that the reverse faded assistance condition resulted in the greatest learning gains. We analyzed the gaze behaviours to shed light on this finding and found that participants in this condition focused significantly more on the problem solution, suggesting more cognitive processing during problem solving than in the other conditions.

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