Instructional Science

, Volume 46, Issue 1, pp 61–76 | Cite as

Examining the preparatory effects of problem generation and solution generation on learning from instruction



The goal of this paper is to isolate the preparatory effects of problem-generation from solution generation in problem-posing contexts, and their underlying mechanisms on learning from instruction. Using a randomized-controlled design, students were assigned to one of two conditions: (a) problem-posing with solution generation, where they generated problems and solutions to a novel situation, or (b) problem-posing without solution generation, where they generated only problems. All students then received instruction on a novel math concept. Findings revealed that problem-posing with solution generation prior to instruction resulted in significantly better conceptual knowledge, without any significant difference in procedural knowledge and transfer. Although solution generation prior to instruction plays a critical role in the development of conceptual understanding, which is necessary for transfer, generating problems plays an equally critical role in transfer. Implications for learning and instruction are discussed.


Problem posing Preparatory activities Math learning Transfer 



A shorter version of this manuscript has been submitted to the 2017 Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society. The author would like to thank the principal, teachers and students for their support and participation, as well as the research assistants who helped with data collection and coding.


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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Learning Sciences and Higher EducationETH ZurichZurichSwitzerland

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