The advantage of mixing examples in inductive learning: a comparison of three hypotheses

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    Mixing examples of different categories (interleaving) has been shown to promote inductive learning as compared with presenting examples of the same category together (massing). In three studies, we tested whether the advantage of interleaving is exclusively due to the mixing of examples from different categories or to the temporal gap introduced between presentations. In addition, we also tested the role of working memory capacity (WMC). Results showed that the mixing of examples might be the key component that determines improved induction. WMC might also be involved in the interleaving effect: participants with high spans seemed to profit more than participants with low spans from interleaved presentations. Our findings have relevant implications for education. Practice schedules should be individually customised so society as a whole can profit from differences between learners. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)421-437
    JournalEducational psychology
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - 21 Apr 2017



    • learning
    • short term memory

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