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Alfieri, L. et al. (2011) Does discovery-based instruction enhance learning? (Journal Article)

Abstract:

Discovery learning approaches to education have recently come under scrutiny (Tobias & Duffy, 2009), with many studies indicating limitations to discovery learning practices. Therefore, 2 meta-analyses were conducted using a sample of 164 studies: The 1st examined the effects of unassisted discovery learning versus explicit instruction, and the 2nd examined the effects of enhanced and/or assisted discovery versus other types of instruction (e.g., explicit, unassisted discovery). Random effects analyses of 580 comparisons revealed that outcomes were favorable for explicit instruction when compared with unassisted discovery under most conditions (d = –0.38, 95% CI [−.44, −.31]). In contrast, analyses of 360 comparisons revealed that outcomes were favorable for enhanced discovery when compared with other forms of instruction (d = 0.30, 95% CI [.23, .36]). The findings suggest that unassisted discovery does not benefit learners, whereas feedback, worked examples, scaffolding, and elicited explanations do. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)

Date:
January 2011
Publisher or Journal:
Volume:
103
Page/s:
1-18
Synonyms:
  • Guided-play
  • Meta-analysis
  • Pedagogy
  • Playful learning
  • Learning
Relevant age group/s:
Research discipline: