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Adaptive prompts for learning Evolution with worked examples - Highlighting the students between the "novices" and the "experts" in a classroom
Neubrand, C., Borzikowsky, C., Harms, U.

Adaptive prompts for learning Evolution with worked examples - Highlighting the students between the "novices" and the "experts" in a classroom

International Journal of Environmental & Science Education, 11(14), 6774-6795

Evolutionary theory constitutes the main concept in biology. There is hardly any other concept that is more complex, and causes more difficulties in learning and teaching. One instructional approach in optimizing the learning of complex topics is to use worked examples combined with self-explanation prompts that fit to the prior knowledge (knowledge adjusted prompts). The effectiveness of this instructional combination is indicated within typical expert-novice comparisons (e.g. Lind & Sandmann 2008). However, how learning occurs in the majority group in classroom (i.e. the learners that are neither experts nor novices) has not been investigated in detail until now. Therefore, this study focuses on the learners with average prior knowledge. The aim of our study was to identify how these learners can be supported with prompts when learning with worked examples. We analyzed how different types of prompts (at novice and/or expert level) that elicit self-explanations that are typical for learners with low prior knowledge respectively high prior knowledge affect knowledge acquisition in evolution. Knowing what type of prompt is most effective for the learners with average knowledge we compared the benefits of this instructional combination between the three knowledge levels: novices, averages, and experts. Results show that for learners with average knowledge, all types of prompts were equally effective. The Matthew effect was not reliable between the knowledge levels.