Not all Active Learning is Equal: Predicting and Explaining Improves Transfer Relative to Answering Practice Questions

AbstractWe compared students' exam performance following one of two different types of active learning assignments. In one version students read text describing experimental evidence for the principle being studied. In the other version, students instead created a hypothesis and explanation, and then studied and explained the results. The content was matched across conditions. Students performed better in exams requiring generalization to novel situations, after providing hypotheses and explanations than after reading the text and answering questions about it. These results suggest that prediction and explanation cycles might be a better active learning approach to promote generalization and transfer than practice questions.

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