Examples are often an integral part of online learning environments directed at the acquisition of problem-solving skills. An unresolved issue, however, is when examples should be provided to learners. Prior research has suggested that example-problem pairs are more effective than problem-example pairs for novice learners. However, in those studies, the problem-example pairs condition may have been hindered by the fact that the examples and problems were not identical within and across pairs. The present experiment therefore employed a between-subjects design with two conditions to compare the effects of learning to solve one particular problem from studying/practicing either in an example-problem-example-problem sequence (EP condition; n = 16) or in a problem-example-problem-example sequence (PE condition; n = 16). Results show that participants in the EP condition outperformed their counterparts in the PE condition during the learning phase, but that this difference had disappeared on the test tasks after participants in the PE group had also studied the example a second time.

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Keywords Example-based learning, Instructional design, Modeling examples, Problem-solving, Worked examples
Persistent URL dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.compedu.2011.03.019, hdl.handle.net/1765/25659
van Gog, T.A.J.M.. (2011). Effects of identical example-problem and problem-example pairs on learning. Computers & Education, 57(2), 1775–1779. doi:10.1016/j.compedu.2011.03.019