Productive Failure in Gifted Students

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Embargoed until 2022-09-24
Copyright: Lim, Sue-ann
Problem-solving or invention as preparation for instruction has been gaining steady attention in the literature as a viable alternative to the traditional explicit instruction. Nevertheless, the efficacy with its use with non-typical populations has not yet been investigated. This thesis investigated the effectiveness of invention tasks and worked examples as preparation for future explicit instruction. It also investigated the impact of structure via contrasting cases in a full-factorial design for non-gifted and gifted adolescents. The effects of instruction on the non-academic outcomes of self-efficacy, extraneous load, perceived knowledge gaps, curiosity and interest were also assessed. Three experiments were conducted with a total of 682 seventh-grade students in independent, academically selective and non-selective public schools. The first two experiments featured a 2 (invention-first vs example-first) x 2 (contrasting cases vs non-contrasting cases) x 2 (gifted vs non-gifted) research design. No significant differences between conditions were found on any learning outcomes. It may have been that the non-contrasting cases condition in Experiment 1 was suboptimal, leading to increased extraneous load and decreased deep feature recall in contrasting cases conditions. Experiment 2 replicated Experiment 1 with re-designed materials for the non-contrasting conditions. Invention-first conditions performed better on transfer outcomes, and gifted students benefited from invention-first conditions more so than example-first conditions. Experiment 3 was conducted with only gifted students. It found that being aware of the structure in the first task outweighed instruction in importance when assessed on learning outcomes. These findings challenge the traditional method of explicit instruction and provides support for the viability of invention-first instruction for use with gifted students.
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Lim, Sue-ann
Kalyuga, Slava
Jung, Jae Yup
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PhD Doctorate
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