Explanation and Generalization in Young Children's Strategy Learning

Date: 
Monday, March 1, 1999
Resource Type:
Peer-reviewed article | Research Products
Environment Type: 
Public Programs, Exhibitions, Informal/Formal Connections
Audience: 
Elementary School Children (6-10) | Pre-K Children (0-5) | Museum/ISE Professionals | Scientists | Evaluators
Discipline: 
Education and learning science
Organization:
University of Pittsburgh, Carnegie-Mellon University
Description: 

Children often learn new problem-solving strategies by observing examples of other people's problem-solving. When children learn a new strategy through observation and also explain the new strategy to themselves, they generalize the strategy more widely than children who learn a new strategy but do not explain. We tested three hypothesized mechanisms through which explanations might facilitate strategy generalization: more accurate recall of the new strategy's procedures; increased selection of the new strategy over competing strategies; or more effective management of the new strategy's goal structure. Findings supported the third mechanism: Explanations facilitated generalization through the creation of novel goal structures that enabled children to persist in use of the new strategy despite potential interference from competing strategies. The facilitative effect of explanation did vary with children's age and did not vary between explanations children created by themselves versus explanations they learned from the experimenter.

Citation
DOI:
10.1111/1467-8624.00023
Publication Name: 
Child Development
Volume: 
70
Number: 
2
Page Number: 
304

Team Members

Robert SieglerRobert SieglerAuthor

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