Memorable Exemplification in Undergraduate Biology: Instructor Strategies and Student Perceptions

  • Alandeom W. Oliveira
  • Tiffany Bretzlaff
  • Adam O. Brown


The present study examines the exemplification practices of a university biology instructor during a semester-long course. Attention is given specifically to how the instructor approaches memorable exemplification—classroom episodes identified by students as a source of memorable learning experiences. A mixed-method research approach is adopted wherein descriptive statistics is combined with qualitative multimodal analysis of video recordings and survey data. Our findings show that memorable experiencing of examples may depend on a multiplicity of factors, including whether students can relate to the example, how unique and extreme the example is, how much detail is provided, whether the example is enacted rather than told, and whether the example makes students feel sad, surprised, shocked, and/or amused. It is argued that, rather than simply assuming that all examples are equally effective, careful consideration needs be given to how exemplification can serve as an important source of memorable science learning experiences.


Science exemplification Learning from examples Undergraduate science Episodic memory 

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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Educational Theory and Practice DepartmentState University of New York at AlbanyAlbanyUSA
  2. 2.Department of Biology, Faculty of ScienceUniversity of OttawaOttawaCanada
  3. 3.Faculty of EducationUniversity of OttawaOttawaCanada

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