Trudel, C-I. and Payne, S.J. (1995) Reflection and goal management in exploratory learning. International Journal of Human-Computer Studies. Vol. 42, No. 3, pp 307-339.

DOI= 10.1006/ijhc.1995.1015

In these experiments, Trudel and Payne studied the effect of constraining the number of keystrokes that subjects were allowed to make while they were learning to use a new interactive device. They also tried the effect of having a list of goals to manage their explorations with the device. In a later study, they added a condition in which they forced the subjects to study one part of the device at a time.

The results showed that
– both the keystroke limit and concentrating to one part at a time, yield to significant improvements in learning, whereas the goal list had only small effect.
– subjects with keystroke limit remembered significantly more about the modes and features of the device than subjects with the goal list or unstructured exploration
– subjects with keystroke limit also made significantly less excessive keystrokes than the other two groups
– the keystroke limit and forcing to study one mode at a time both had such a significant effect on learning that combining these conditions did not have significant additional effect, nor having goal list if keystroke limit was already in use. Only if the subjects had no keystroke or mode limits, the goal list improved learning to some extent.

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