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Process-Oriented Worked Examples: Improving Transfer Performance through Enhanced Understanding

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ISAIJLS Volume 32, Number 1, ISSN 0020-4277


The research on worked examples has shown that for novices, studying worked examples is often a more effective and efficient way of learning than solving conventional problems. This theoretical paper argues that adding process-oriented information to worked examples can further enhance transfer performance, especially for complex cognitive skills with multiple possible solution paths. Process-oriented information refers to the principled ("why") and strategic ("how") information that experts use when solving problems. From a cognitive load perspective, studying the expert's "why" and "how" information can be seen as constituting a germane cognitive load, which can foster students' understanding of the principles of a domain and the rationale behind the selected operators, and their knowledge about how experts select a strategy, respectively. Issues with regard to the design, implementation, and assessment of effects of process-oriented worked examples are discussed, as well as the questions they raise for future research.


van Gog, T., Paas, F. & van Merrienboer, J.J.G. (2004). Process-Oriented Worked Examples: Improving Transfer Performance through Enhanced Understanding. Instructional Science: An International Journal of the Learning Sciences, 32(1), 83-98. Retrieved December 15, 2019 from .

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