Educational Psychology Review

, Volume 22, Issue 1, pp 25–40 | Cite as

How to Foster Active Processing of Explanations in Instructional Communication

  • Kirsten Berthold
  • Alexander Renkl
Review Article


In instructional communication settings, instructional explanations play an important role. Despite the very common use of instructional explanations, empirical studies show that very often, they have no positive effects on learning outcomes. This ineffectiveness might be due to mental passivity of the recipient learners that leads to shallow processing of the explanations. Against this background, we introduce several types of instructional assistance to foster active processing of written instructional explanations in asynchronous computer-mediated instructional communication settings. The findings of three experiments showed that prompts or training for focused processing regarding the central principles and concepts of the explanation are especially effective with respect to fostering learning outcomes.


Asynchronous computer-mediated instructional communication Written instructional explanations Active processing Focused processing 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Psychology, Educational PsychologyUniversity of BielefeldBielefeldGermany
  2. 2.Department of Psychology, Educational and Developmental PsychologyUniversity of FreiburgFreiburgGermany

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