Assisting Learners' Acquisition of a Practical Rule in Problem-Solving: Application of an Economic Rule

Toshihiko Shindo, Keiichi Magara

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    4 Citations (Scopus)


    The purpose of the present study was to investigate an effective teaching method so that learners would be able to apply a rule when solving problems. The rule taken up in the present research was "if there is competition among companies, then prices are lower." In preliminary studies, undergraduates were asked why the railway fares on two sections between two stations equally far apart but in different locations were different. The expected answer was because of price competition, but the percentage of participants giving that answer was low. Most of the students' answers referred inappropriately to cost. In response to these results, three experiments were designed. Experiments 1 and 2 examined the effect of instruction on the rule, accompanied by an everyday example, and the effect of explaining the rule from the standpoint of a consumer. The results of these experiments showed that neither of these interventions promoted application of the rule. Experiment 3 examined the effect of the way the rule was described and of practice in applying the rule. These two instructional factors resulted in the participants being able to apply the rule when solving problems.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)462-470
    Number of pages9
    JournalJapanese Journal of Educational Psychology
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - 1999


    • Economic conception
    • Instruction strategy
    • Rule description
    • Rule learning
    • Undergraduates

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Psychology(all)
    • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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