Learning from Erroneous Examples: When and how do students benefit from them?

Dimitra Tsovaltzi, Bruce McLaren, Erica Melis, Ann-Kristin Thurner, Michael Dietrich, Giorgi Goguadze

In: Vania Dimitrova , Paul A. Kirschner , Stefanie N. Lindstaedt , Maren Scheffel , Martin Wolpers (editor). Proceedings of the 5th European Conference on Technology Enhanced Learning (EC-TEL 2010), Sustaining TEL: From Innovation to Learning and Practice. European Conference on Technology Enhanced Learning (EC-TEL-2010) 5th September 28-October 1 Barcelona Spain Pages 357-373 LNCS 6383 Springer 9/2010.


We present students with common errors and misconceptions of others in the context of an intelligent tutoring system (ITS). We investigate whether such erroneous examples can help students learn while saving them the embarrassment and demotivation of confronting their own errors. The original development of our online erroneous examples was informed by two small-scale studies. We conducted two lab studies and one school study with students of different curriculum levels to measure the effects of learning through erroneous examples. We report on the results of these studies, which compare learning gains in three experimental conditions: a control condition, a condition in which students were presented with erroneous examples without help, and a condition in which students were provided with help. The type of help we provide and investigate resembles the unsolicited feedback of intelligent tutoring systems. Finally, we compare and contrast the learning sessions of three students from different conditions who participated in the school study, and illustrate how students of a comparable level benefit from working with erroneous examples and additional help.

Weitere Links

German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence
Deutsches Forschungszentrum für Künstliche Intelligenz