Date on Senior Honors Thesis
Senior Honors Thesis
Psychological and Brain Sciences
College of Arts and Sciences
exploratory learning; insight; conceptual understanding; magic tricks
In undergraduate classrooms, students are typically first taught the concepts and procedures for solving problems, then practice. With exploratory learning methods, students explore novel problems and generate original solutions before receiving instruction, which benefits conceptual understanding and future learning. The current study examined whether students who explore before instruction experience greater insight moments, and whether insight leads to better learning. Prior research demonstrates that individuals remember problem solutions better if they experience a sudden moment of solution clarity (Aha! Experience). Participants (N = 83) were randomly assigned to instruct-first or explore-first conditions and taught three types of magic tricks used in the insight problem solving literature. Participants in the instruct-first condition viewed the instruction and examples, then practiced solving the problems. Participants in the explore-first condition explored the problems and provided solution attempts before instruction. After one week, participants were asked to recall solutions from the prior week. They also provided solutions to six new tricks, which assess near and far transfer differing by how similar the solutions were to the previous problems. Participants in both conditions scored equally on recall and near transfer problems, but participants in the explore-first condition scored higher on far transfer problems. Insight ratings did not differ between conditions. Insight ratings did not correlate with memory for solutions, but a related affective experience (certainty) did. These findings suggest that the insight memory advantage was not specific to exploratory learning, but exploring before instruction improved understanding of the deeper concepts.
Kaiser, Olivia, "Aha! Examining insight in exploratory learning versus traditional instruction." (2022). College of Arts & Sciences Senior Honors Theses. Paper 293.
Retrieved from https://ir.library.louisville.edu/honors/293
In undergraduate classrooms, students are typically first lectured on how to solve new problems before doing homework or practicing. Another method of learning, exploratory learning, involves asking students to try solving new problems on their own first, before receiving instruction. Exploratory learning benefits deeper understanding of underlying concepts and improves future learning. Additionally, this study investigated learning through insight, and whether more moments of insight occur when exploring before instruction. Research shows that problems solved through insight or having sudden solution clarity (Aha! Experience) are remembered better. Participants were assigned to either an instruct-first or explore-first condition. They were either taught solutions to magic tricks first or tried to solve the magic tricks by themselves before instruction. One week later, participants tried to recall the magic trick solutions. They also tried to solve six new tricks to assess transfer or long-term learning. Results showed that transfer scores for less-related tricks were higher for participants who explored first. Insight ratings did not differ between conditions. These findings suggest that insight moments were not specific to exploratory learning, but exploring before instruction improved understanding of the deeper concepts.
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