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Flexibility in problem solving: The case of equation solving


Learning and Instruction Volume 18, Number 6 ISSN 0959-4752 Publisher: Elsevier Ltd


A key learning outcome in problem-solving domains is the development of flexible knowledge, where learners know multiple strategies and adaptively choose efficient strategies. Two interventions hypothesized to improve flexibility in problem solving were experimentally evaluated: prompts to discover multiple strategies and direct instruction on multiple strategies. Participants were 132 sixth-grade students who solved linear equations for three hours. Both interventions improved students' flexibility in problem solving and did not replace, nor interfere with, one another. Overall, the study provides causal evidence that exposure to multiple strategies leads to improved flexibility in problem solving and that discovery learning and direct instruction are compatible instructional approaches.


Star, J.R. & Rittle-Johnson, B. Flexibility in problem solving: The case of equation solving. Learning and Instruction, 18(6), 565-579. Elsevier Ltd. Retrieved January 28, 2020 from .

This record was imported from Learning and Instruction on January 29, 2019. Learning and Instruction is a publication of Elsevier.

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