ERIC Number: ED259718
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1985-Mar
Reference Count: N/A
The Role of Examples and Explanations in Teaching Procedural Skills.
Charney, Davida; Reder, Lynne
This paper compares the content of two types of instruction presented to a student either by an intelligent tutoring system or by some conventional text, such as a textbook or a computer user's manual, when the educational goal is skills learning. Two distinct points of view are presented: (1) that of the "expounders," who believe that instruction should be as complete and explicit as possible, and (2) that of the "minimalists," who believe that instruction should above all be brief and should leave much to the learner's own exploration. Each theory is outlined, and the results of a practical application of the expounders theory are reported. In this study, 40 inexperienced computer users were given two manuals to read (one fully elaborated and the other one-third as long with the elaborations deleted), and then asked to perform some tasks on the computer. It was found that learners who had specific tasks in mind when they read the manual performed much more efficiently with the short, unelaborated version of the manual, while unprepared learners did better with the longer version. However, contradictory findings by John Carroll (1984) are noted. He found that after working through his minimal version of a tutorial manual for the IBM Displaywriter System, people learned the same basic information more quickly than those who used the commercially developed version of the manual. This study resolves the contradiction by restating the problem from a new perspective--namely, taking the emphasis away from the length of the instruction and focusing on the inclusion of relevant, essential information, and considering two important dimensions: (1) the kind of information the text must contain; and (2) the kind of learning situation in which it will be used. (JB)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Office of Naval Research, Washington, DC. Psychological Sciences Div.
Authoring Institution: N/A