Self-Explanation Prompts on Problem-Solving Performance in an Interactive Learning Environment

Kyungbin Kwon
Christiana D. Kumalasari
Jane L. Howland
University of Missouri


This study examined the effects of self-explanation prompts on problem-solving performance. In total, 47 students were recruited and trained to debug web-program code in an online learning environment. Students in an open self-explanation group were asked to explain the problem cases to themselves, whereas a complete other-explanation group was provided with partial explanations and asked to complete them by choosing correct key-words. The results indicate that students in the open self-explanation condition (a) outperformed in a debugging task, (b) perceived higher confidence for their explanations, and (c) showed a strong positive relationship between the quality of their explanation and their performance. These results demonstrate the benefits of the open self-explanation prompts. Cognitive load of self-explanation and quality of explanation are discussed.

About the Author(s)...

Kyungbin Kwon, Ph.D. is an instructional designer at the School of Medicine University of Missouri, Columbia. His research interests include designing online collaborative learning environments and developing a self-reflective learning tool. He may be contacted at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Christiana D. Kumalasari, Ph.D. teaches in the School of Information Science and Learning Technologies at the University of Missouri, Columbia. She has been working as an instructor for over six years. Her current research interests include implementation of technologies in supporting students’ learning, simulation, and problem-based learning.

Jane L. Howland, Ph.D. is an Associate Teaching Professor in the School of Information Science and Learning Technologies at the University of Missouri. She has developed and teaches online graduate courses related to the use of learning technologies, with an emphasis on K-12 learning environments.

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