Learning from Self-Diagnosis Activities when Contrasting Students’ Own Solutions with Worked Examples: the Case of 10th Graders Studying Geometric Optics

  • Rafi’ SafadiEmail author
  • Sheren Saadi


Self-diagnosis activities require students to self-diagnose their solutions to problems they solved on their own by detecting and explaining their errors. Worked examples, a step-by-step demonstration of how to solve a problem, are often used to support students in self-diagnosis activities. However, studies indicate that students often fail to exploit worked examples in traditional self-diagnosis activities when simply required to self-diagnose their solutions. This study analyzes a new self-diagnosis activity developed by the first author to prompt students to effectively use worked examples when self-diagnosing: the written worked examples only constitute one part of a scoring rubric and the students are required to both self-diagnose their solutions and then self-score them. This activity was hypothesized to encourage students to exploit the worked examples more thoroughly, and by extension detect and learn from their errors to a greater extent than students administered the traditional self-diagnosis activities. Six 10th grade advanced physics classes completed a pre-test/intervention/post-test after finishing a unit in geometric optics. Students in each class were randomly assigned to the new self-diagnosis activity (83 students) or the traditional self-diagnosing activity (79 students). Students assigned the new activity detected and learned more from their errors than students administered the traditional activity. It is argued that more in-depth error detection contributed overall to students’ learning by triggering a series of implicit steps that prompted them to self-regulate their cognitions in a way that provided opportunities to self-repair their naïve concepts.


Erroneous solutions Geometric optics Learning from errors Self-assessment Self-diagnosis Worked examples 



We wish to express our gratitude to the teachers who participated in this study. We appreciate the support of the Academic Arab College for Education in Israel – Haifa.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Science EducationThe Academic Arab College for Education in IsraelHaifaIsrael
  2. 2.Comprehensive school “C” - ShefaamreShefaamreIsrael

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