Unformatted text preview: on-examples are not selected carefully (Smith & Ragan, 1993).
Students overgeneralize when they include non-examples as examples. For
instance, they classify a diamond as a triangle. Students undergeneralize when
they fail to categorize an example of a concept. For example, they do not classify
whales as mammals. The examples and non-examples must be selected so that the
boundaries of the concept category are clear.
The difficulty of concept learning is affected by a number of variables.
First, examples and non-examples of a concept may be difficult to distinguish. For
instance, examples of punishment and negative reinforcement can be difficult to
differentiate. Second, some concepts include examples that are not very similar to
each other, as in the case of bat and dog as examples of mammals. Third, some
concepts may be very broad or abstract like democracy.
These issues can be addressed through nonroutine treatments such as
providing students with maps or diagrams that help them distinguish related
concepts. For example, a Venn diagram could help students visualize areas of
overlap and differences between concepts. You can also present examples and
non-examples in pairs that allow students to focus on key similarities and
differences. For example, Bible and book can be presented together as examples 25 of proper and common nouns. Finally, examples can also be presented in a
sequence of graduated difficulty, which means that typical examples are presented
before less typical examples are presented (Tennyson & Cocchiarella, 1986). For
example, if you were teaching the concept of adverbs, you might start with the
“ly” examples before dealing with examples like ‘well” as in, “He did that well.”
Treatments for procedural rules. With procedural rule learning,
students are asked to perform a task according to rules or a set of prescribed steps
for a procedure (Gropper, 1983). For example, students learning how to divide
fractions or how to mount a microscope slide are learning procedural rules. In...
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