IANNONE, P. ... et al, 2011. Does generating examples aid proof production? Educational Studies in Mathematics, 77 (1), pp. 1-14.
Many mathematics education researchers have suggested that asking learners
to generate examples of mathematical concepts is an effective way of learning
about novel concepts. To date, however, this suggestion has limited empirical support.
We asked undergraduate students to study a novel concept by either tackling
example generation tasks or reading worked solutions to these tasks. Contrary to
suggestions in the literature, we found no advantage for the example generation
group on subsequent proof production tasks. From a second study, we found that
undergraduate students overwhelmingly adopt a trial and error approach to example
generation and suggest that different example generation strategies may result in
different learning gains. We conclude by arguing that the teaching strategy of
example generation is not yet understood well enough to be a viable pedagogical
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