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How Fading Worked Solution Steps Works – A Cognitive Load Perspective

Abstract

In order to facilitate the transition fromlearning from worked examples in earlier stagesof skill acquisition to problem solving inlater stages, it is effective to successivelyfade out worked solution steps – in comparisonto the traditional method of employingexample-problem pairs that is frequently usedin cognitive-load research. In the presentstudies, the learning processes and mechanismsthat occur when learning in a computer-basedlearning environment containing faded workedsolution steps were examined across twoexperiments. The first experiment showed thatthe position of the faded steps did notinfluence learning outcomes; instead,individuals learned most about those principlesthat were faded. This suggested that specificself-explanation activities are triggered byfaded steps. The second experiment investigatedthis hypothesis directly by collecting andanalyzing thinking-aloud protocols generated bythe learners during their interaction with thelearning environment. No effect on productivelearning events including self-explanationscould be found. It could, however, be shownthat fading is associated with fewerunproductive learning events and, thereby,lends itself to better learning outcomes.

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Correspondence to Alexander Renkl.

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Renkl, A., Atkinson, R.K. & Große, C.S. How Fading Worked Solution Steps Works – A Cognitive Load Perspective. Instructional Science 32, 59–82 (2004). https://doi.org/10.1023/B:TRUC.0000021815.74806.f6

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Keywords

  • Learning Process
  • Traditional Method
  • Cognitive Load
  • Learning Outcome
  • Learning Event