Subgoal Level Feedback Benefits Novel Problem Solving
Schaeffer, Laura May
MetadataShow full item record
The present study combined subgoal learning and feedback frameworks to further improve problem solving performance and demonstrated that subgoal level feedback resulted in better learning outcomes over step level feedback, first in a lab environment and then in an online-only environment. Feedback is an essential part of learning that tells the learners what they are doing correctly as well as where they can improve. Feedback can be provided at different levels such as the solution level, step level, and sub-step level. Previously, feedback at the step level had shown to be as effective as sub-step level feedback while requiring less time and fewer resources to create. Subgoals are components of a problem solution that transfer across problems in a given domain. Subgoal level feedback has several advantages over step level feedback that cause it to be more effective for learners. Subgoals help learners identify the structure of the problem, chunk steps together (thereby reducing extraneous load), and encourage self-explanations. The present study combined subgoal learning and feedback frameworks to further improve problem solving performance. Learners who received subgoal level feedback correctly completed more steps of novel problem solving tasks and were better able to explain problem solving solutions than learners who received step level feedback. The results suggest that subgoal level feedback leads to better transfer on novel tasks because the subgoal framework helps learners better understand and apply general procedures.