Examples and tutored problems: How can self-explanation make a difference to learning?

Type of content
Conference Contributions - Published
Thesis discipline
Degree name
University of Canterbury. Computer Science and Software Engineering
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
Shareghi Najar, A.
Mitrovic, Antonija

Learning from worked examples has been shown to be superior to unsupported problem solving in numerous studies. Examples reduce the cognitive load on the learner's working memory, thus helping the student to learn faster or deal with more complex questions. Only recently researchers started investigating the worked example effect in Intelligent Tutoring Systems (ITSs). We conducted a study to investigate the effect of using worked examples in combination with supported problem-solving in SQL-Tutor. We had three conditions: Examples Only (EO), Problems Only (PO), and Alternating Examples/Problems (AEP). After completing a problem, students received a self-explanation prompt that focused on the concepts used in the problem, to make sure that students acquire conceptual knowledge. On the other hand, examples were followed by self-explanation prompts that focused on procedural knowledge. The study showed that the AEP and PO conditions outperformed EO in learning gain, while AEP outperformed PO in conceptual knowledge acquisition. Therefore, interleaving examples with supported problems is an optimal choice compared to using examples or supported problems only in SQL-Tutor.

“The final publication is available at link.springer.com”.
Shareghi, A., Mitrovic., A. (2013) Examples and tutored problems: How can self-explanation make a difference to learning?. Memphis, TN, USA: 16th International Conference on Artificial Intelligence in Education, 9-13 July 2013. Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence, 7926, pp. 339--348.
worked examples, problem solving, self-explanation, intelligent tutors
Ngā upoko tukutuku/Māori subject headings
ANZSRC fields of research
Field of Research::08 - Information and Computing Sciences::0806 - Information Systems::080602 - Computer-Human Interaction
Fields of Research::39 - Education::3904 - Specialist studies in education::390405 - Educational technology and computing