Bethany Rittle-Johnson

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Explaining new ideas to oneself can promote transfer, but how and when such self-explanation is effective is unclear. This study evaluated whether self-explanation leads to lasting improvements in transfer success and whether it is more effective in combination with direct instruction or invention. Third- through fifth-grade children (ages 8-11; n=85)(More)
We examined whether the overlapping waves model, originally developed to account for strategy choices in arithmetic, could also account for strategy choices in spelling. The contrast was of particular interest because arithmetic is an algorithmic domain (a domain that includes strategies that always yield correct answers if executed properly), whereas(More)
We present a methodology for designing better learning environments. In Phase 1, 6th-grade students’ (n = 223) prior knowledge was assessed using a difficulty factors assessment (DFA). The assessment revealed that scaffolds designed to elicit contextual, conceptual, or procedural knowledge each improved students’ ability to add and subtract fractions.(More)
Comparing and contrasting examples is a core cognitive process that supports learning in children and adults across a variety of topics. In this experimental study, we evaluated the benefits of supporting comparison in a classroom context for children learning about computational estimation. Fifth- and sixth-grade students (N=157) learned about estimation(More)
Explaining new ideas to oneself can promote learning and transfer, but questions remain about how to maximize the pedagogical value of self-explanations. This study investigated how type of instruction affected self-explanation quality and subsequent learning outcomes for second- through fifth-grade children learning to solve mathematical equivalence(More)
Both exploration and explicit instruction are thought to benefit learning in many ways, but much less is known about how the two can be combined. We tested the hypothesis that engaging in exploratory activities prior to receiving explicit instruction better prepares children to learn from the instruction. Children (159 second- to fourth-grade students)(More)
BACKGROUND Knowledge of concepts and procedures seems to develop in an iterative fashion, with increases in one type of knowledge leading to increases in the other type of knowledge. This suggests that iterating between lessons on concepts and procedures may improve learning. AIMS The purpose of the current study was to evaluate the instructional benefits(More)
Engaging learners in exploratory problem-solving activities prior to receiving instruction (i.e., explore-instruct approach) has been endorsed as an effective learning approach. However, it remains unclear whether this approach is feasible for elementary-school children in a classroom context. In two experiments, second-graders solved mathematical(More)
Conceptual change is a gradual process that occurs as students integrate new information into their existing conceptions. Throughout this process, assessing learning requires measures to diagnose misconceptions and understand how knowledge is changing. We developed three measures of misconceptions to assess students' knowledge early in instruction on(More)
Worked examples have been found to be effective tools in reducing cognitive load and supporting learning. Erroneous examples are worked examples that include incorrect steps and are intended to help students learn how to identify important principles and errors to avoid. The current study examines whether using erroneous examples in an online intelligent(More)