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ERIC Number: EJ1086990
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2016-Jan
Pages: 16
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0022-0663
Feedback Both Helps and Hinders Learning: The Causal Role of Prior Knowledge
Fyfe, Emily R.; Rittle-Johnson, Bethany
Journal of Educational Psychology, v108 n1 p82-97 Jan 2016
Feedback can be a powerful learning tool, but its effects vary widely. Research has suggested that learners' prior knowledge may moderate the effects of feedback; however, no causal link has been established. In Experiment 1, we randomly assigned elementary school children (N = 108) to a condition based on a crossing of 2 factors: induced strategy knowledge (yes vs. no) and immediate, verification feedback (present vs. absent). Feedback had positive effects for children who were not taught a correct strategy, but negative effects for children with induced knowledge of a correct strategy. In Experiment 2, we induced strategy knowledge in all children (N = 101) and randomly assigned them to 1 of 3 conditions: no feedback, immediate correct-answer feedback, or summative correct-answer feedback. Again, feedback had negative effects relative to no feedback. Results provide evidence for a causal role of prior knowledge and indicate that minimal feedback can both help and hinder learning.
American Psychological Association. Journals Department, 750 First Street NE, Washington, DC 20002. Tel: 800-374-2721; Tel: 202-336-5510; Fax: 202-336-5502; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Elementary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: National Science Foundation (NSF); Institute of Education Sciences (ED)
Authoring Institution: N/A
IES Funded: Yes
Grant or Contract Numbers: DRL9746565; R305B080025