Differential effects of problem-solving demands on individual and collaborative learning outcomes

F.C. Kirschner, F. Paas, P.A. Kirschner, J.J.H.M. Janssen

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The effectiveness and efficiency of individual versus collaborative learning was investigated as a function of instructional format among 140 high school students in the domain of biology. The instructional format either emphasized worked examples, which needed to be studied or the equivalent problems, which needed to be solved. Because problem solving imposes a higher cognitive load for novices than does studying worked examples it was hypothesized that learning by solving problems would lead to better learning outcomes (effectiveness) and be more efficient for collaborative learners, whereas learning by studying worked examples would lead to better learning outcomes and be more efficient for individual learners. The results supported these crossover interaction hypothesis. Consequences of the findings for the design of individual and collaborative learning environments are discussed.
Original languageUndefined/Unknown
Pages (from-to)587-599
Number of pages13
JournalLearning and Instruction
Publication statusPublished - 2011

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