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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Preparing Unprepared Students For Future Learning


Based on strategy-awareness (knowing which problem-solving strategy to use) and time-awareness (knowing when to use it), students are categorized into Rote (neither type of awareness), Dabbler (strategy-aware only) or Selective (both types of awareness). It was shown that Selective is often significantly more prepared for future learning than Rote and Dabbler (Abdelshiheed et al., 2020). In this work, we explore the impact of explicit strategy instruction on Rote and Dabbler students across two domains: logic and probability. During the logic instruction, our logic tutor handles both Forward- Chaining (FC) and Backward-Chaining (BC) strategies, with FC being the default; the Experimental condition is taught how to use BC via worked examples and when to use it via prompts. Six weeks later, all students are trained on a probability tutor that supports BC only. Our results show that Experimental significantly outperforms Control in both domains, and Experimental Rote catches up with Selective.

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