Problems relating to insufficient abstraction of knowledge representation in rule learning

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The purpose of the present study was to examine negative influences of example information on abstraction of rule representation. The experiments involved learning Hooke's law, using the example of spring experiments. Study 1 investigated how the level of abstraction of the learner representation affected problem solving. Study 2 investigated how the level of abstraction of the rule proposition in the teaching material affected problem solving. The results were as follows: (a) the information on the spring experiments restricted the level of abstraction and the applicability and operationability of the rule representation; (b) these effects were not eliminated by teaching the rule proposition on a high level of abstraction, and (c) generally, a high level of abstraction of rule representation raised its operationability, but a certain type of operation was facilitated at the lower levels of abstraction. These results suggest than it is important to resolve the dilemma between the degree of abstraction of rules and the concreteness of the examples.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)239-250
Number of pages12
JournalJapanese Journal of Educational Psychology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2013


  • Abstractness of rule representation
  • Concreteness of example information
  • Operation of knowledge
  • Rule learning

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