Although elaboration has been investigated frequently, there is little evidence for the beneficial effect of elaboration in problem-based learning. A controlled experiment tested the effect of elaboration during problem-based discussion on recall. Sixty-seven students observed a video-recorded, problem-based discussion. In one experimental condition, a tutor in the video encouraged participants to elaborate by asking elaborative questions. In a second condition, the tutor asked superficial questions. After the discussion, all participants studied a text with relevant new information. Elaborative questions had no significant effect on recall of idea units from the text, p = .39, η2= .01. High-ability students outperformed low-ability students, p = .04, η2= .07, but this effect did not interact with the experimental treatment, p = .22, η2= .02. Suggestions for further research are presented.

Collaborative learning, Elaboration, Higher Education, Problem-based learning, Recall, Tutoring
dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10459-012-9406-8, hdl.handle.net/1765/38662
Advances in Health Sciences Education
Erasmus School of Economics

van Blankenstein, F.M, Dolmans, D.H.J.M, van der Vleuten, C.P.M, & Schmidt, H.G. (2012). Elaboration during problem-based group discussion: Effects on recall for high and low ability students. Advances in Health Sciences Education, 1–14. doi:10.1007/s10459-012-9406-8