NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
Peer reviewed Peer reviewed
Direct linkDirect link
ERIC Number: EJ1026869
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2013-Dec
Pages: 18
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0007-0998
Is Self-Explanation Worth the Time? A Comparison to Additional Practice
McEldoon, Katherine L.; Durkin, Kelley L.; Rittle-Johnson, Bethany
British Journal of Educational Psychology, v83 n4 p615-632 Dec 2013
Background: Self-explanation, or generating explanations to oneself in an attempt to make sense of new information, can promote learning. However, self-explaining takes time, and the learning benefits of this activity need to be rigorously evaluated against alternative uses of this time. Aims: In the current study, we compared the effectiveness of self-explanation prompts to the effectiveness of solving additional practice problems (to equate for time on task) and to solving the same number of problems (to equate for problem-solving experience). Sample: Participants were 69 children in grades 2-4. Methods: Students completed a pre-test, brief intervention session, and a post- and retention test. The intervention focused on solving mathematical equivalence problems such as 3 + 4 + 8 = _ + 8. Students were randomly assigned to one of three intervention conditions: self-explain, additional-practice, or control. Results: Compared to the control condition, self-explanation prompts promoted conceptual and procedural knowledge. Compared to the additional-practice condition, the benefits of self-explanation were more modest and only apparent on some subscales. Conclusions: The findings suggest that self-explanation prompts have some small unique learning benefits, but that greater attention needs to be paid to how much self-explanation offers advantages over alternative uses of time.
Wiley-Blackwell. 350 Main Street, Malden, MA 02148. Tel: 800-835-6770; Tel: 781-388-8598; Fax: 781-388-8232; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Elementary Education; Grade 2; Grade 3; Grade 4
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A