The impact of algebra worked example presentations on student learning

Hannah SMITH, Avery H. CLOSSER, Erin OTTMAR, Yun-Chen CHAN

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlespeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Worked examples are effective learning tools for algebraic equation solving. However, they are typically presented in a static concise format, which only displays the major derivation steps in one static image. The current work explores how worked examples that vary in their extensiveness (i.e., detail) and degree of dynamic presentation (i.e., static vs. sequential line-by-line vs. dynamic format that demonstrates the problem-solving process) impact learning. We conducted an online experiment in which 230 algebra students completed a pretest, studied worked examples in one of six presentation conditions, and completed a posttest. We found that overall, students improved from pretest to posttest after viewing the worked examples; we did not find significant differences on posttest performance between worked example presentations. These results have implications for the design of worked examples in online tutoring systems as well as for cognitive load theory and perceptual learning theory in the design of worked examples. Copyright © 2022 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)363-377
JournalApplied Cognitive Psychology
Issue number2
Early online dateJan 2022
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2022


Smith, H., Closser, A. H., Ottmar, E., & Chan, J. Y.-C. (2022). The impact of algebra worked example presentations on student learning. Applied Cognitive Psychology, 36(2), 363-377. doi: 10.1002/acp.3925


  • Algebra
  • Cognitive load theory
  • Online learning
  • Perceptual learning
  • Worked examples


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