Segmentation of Worked Examples: Effects on Cognitive Load and Learning
Two ways to improve worked examples are investigated: presenting them in a segmented format (i.e., in pieces separated by blank lines) and instructing students to segment them actively (i.e., students must divide the examples in pieces). Segmented examples are expected to support learning because they show which information elements belong together. Learners might also be encouraged to think about which information elements belong together when they are instructed to actively segment, but on the negative side, this is an additional task that might impose extra cognitive load without facilitating learning. Results showed that students in the actively segmenting condition invested more effort in learning than students in the other conditions without performing better. Furthermore, studying segmented examples required less effort to achieve equal learning outcomes than studying nonsegmented ones. So, presenting learners with segmented examples improved the efficiency of the learning process, whereas instructing them to actively segment decreased this efficiency.