Loredana Mihalca, Assistant Professor in the Psychology and Counseling Department, Webster University Geneva, has recently published her joint work with Christoph Mengelkamp (University of Wuerzburg, Germany) and Wolfgang Schnotz (University of Koblenz-Landau, Germany), "Completion problems can reduce the illusions of understanding in a computer-based learning environment on genetics," in the highly rated journal Contemporary Educational Psychology.
Inaccurate judgments of task difficulty and invested mental effort may negatively affect how accurate students monitor their own performance. When students are not able to accurately monitor their own performance, they cannot control their learning effectively (e.g., allocate adequate mental effort and study time). Although students' judgments of task difficulty and invested mental effort are closely related to their study behaviors, it is still an open question how the accuracy of these judgments can be improved in learning from problem solving. The present study focused on the impact of three types of instructional support on the accuracy of students' judgments of difficulty and invested mental effort in relation to their performance while learning genetics in a computer-based environment. Sixty-seven university students with different prior knowledge received either incomplete worked-out examples, completion problems, or conventional problems. Results indicated that lower prior knowledge students performed better with completion problems, while higher prior knowledge students performed better with conventional problems. Incomplete worked-out examples resulted in an overestimation of performance, that is, an illusion of understanding, whereas completion and conventional problems showed neither over-nor underestimation. The findings suggest that completion problems can be used to avoid students' misjudgments of their competencies.