Learning by Comparing: Effects of Direct Instruction, Discovery and Delay on Analogical Transfer
Previous research on analogy suggests that comparison between two instructional examples promotes analogical transfer and that direct instruction and inquiry based learning have their own advantages and disadvantages. The present study describes two experiments, the first designed to test the efficacy of directly instructing participants about common relational structure between analogous problems and the second designed to the explore the effect of temporal delays on successful analogical transfer. Subjects' analogical reasoning was operationalized as their ability to solve a relationally similar target problem which required mapping of relevant concepts from the two base problems. We hypothesized that (i) analogical transfer would be independent of pedagogy, (ii) comparison between analogs would yield stronger solution schemas and that (iii) a delay would result in higher rates of solving the transfer than no delay. Results showed that (i) comparison did not yield better schema quality than no comparison (ii) analogical transfer did not depend on instructional method and (iii) delay fostered more efficient analogical transfer than no delay.