Explanation prompts are an instructional aid which promotes understanding of the learned material and conceptual knowledge by requiring the learner to elaborate on the step of a procedure he has just learned about.1)
Two possible explanations were offered for this effect: first, claiming the enhanced learning result is caused merely by being exposed to additional information and that result would be the same if learners were offered teacher-provided explanations, and second, claiming the enhanced learning result is caused by the process of generating explanation from learner's own background knowledge. A recent research has supported the second hypothesis, suggesting that
In practice, explanation prompts can be verbal, automatically generated by a computer or incorporated in the learning material, but no matter the form, their goal is to elicit active processing and verbalization/explanation of the learned principle.
An example of an explanation prompt is the following:
A recent research has revealed some negative aspects of explanation prompting. Prompts can lead to cognitive overload facilitating conceptual, but hindering procedural knowledge acquisition.4)