Self-explanation and the Independent Learner

Thoughtful little boy with book in the classroom

In a culture where children are expected to regurgitate the information fed to them, fewer and fewer students are actually learning. The vast majority of graduates find themselves failing once they leave the comforts of school and are put into challenging work situations that expect innovation, risk taking, resilience and the ability to think on one’s feet. A meta-analysis conducted on 64 studies involving over 6000 participants shows that, by and large, students that learn by explaining concepts to themselves were better off than students who depended on a teacher or book for an explanation. This was due to the learners’ ability to “generate inferences about causal connections and conceptual relationships that enhance understanding.” Students who learned from a primary source and then created their own links and explanations to the concept were more likely to learn the information than students who did not go beyond their teachers’ explanations.

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