Do Erroneous Examples Improve Learning in Addition to Problem Solving and Worked Examples?

Xingliang Chen, Antonija Mitrovic, Moffat Mathews

Learning from Problem Solving (PS), Worked Examples (WE) and Erroneous Examples (ErrEx) have all proven to be effective learning strategies. However, there is still no agreement on what kind of assistance (in terms of different learning activities) should be provided to students in Intelligent Tutoring Systems (ITSs) to optimize learning. A previous study [1] found that alternating worked examples and problem solving (AEP) was superior to using just one type of learning tasks. In this paper, we compare AEP to a new instructional strategy which, in addition to PS and WEs, additionally offers erroneous examples to students. The results indicate that erroneous examples prepare students better for problem solving in comparison to worked examples. Explaining and correcting erroneous examples also leads to improved debugging and problem-solving skills.

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