Self-Explanation of a Worked Example

The next strategy is inspired by the literature on worked examples and the self-explanation effect. Sweller (1988) (click here for refernces) proposed giving students worked out examples. Chi (1996) and Conati et. al. (1997) have both proposed asking students to self-explain. This strategy also gets at the goal of practicing translation from the algebraic representation to the verbal representation which Corbett et. al. (2000) have shown to be effective for learning symbolization. In this example, the student is told the answer and then asked to explain it.

T1: Hello. [Again, doing the "bike-trip" problem] Please write an expression for the total time the trip took.

S1: m+s

T2: No. The correct answer is "b+m/s". Let me ask you some questions to make sure you understand that. Can you explain where the m/s came from? [ The student is presented with a sentence they must complete. The sentence begins "‘m/s’ is equal to" and is followed by three pull-down menus to compose the answer.]

S2: "m/s" is equal to [1st menu:] the distance ridden [2nd menu:] divided by [3rd menu:] the speed ridden.

T3: Correct. What does m/s represent?

S3: [menu:] The time actually on bikes

T4: Correct. Can you explain where the b+m/s came from?

S4: "b+m/s" is equal to [1st menu:] the time for the break [2nd menu:] plus [3rd menu:] the time actually on bikes.

T5: Correct. What does "b+m/s" represent?

S5: [menu:] The time actually on bikes

T6: Correct. It looks like you understand that problem.

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