Asking good questions is essential for knowledge construction and scientific learning. Wong and colleagues conducted two experiments to investigate the impact of learning-by-teaching on generating research questions, comparing it with two other generating learning techniques: retrieval practice and concept-mapping. Research questions correspond to the “create” level of Bloom’s taxonomy (remember, understand, apply, analyze, evaluate, create), representing the highest level of generating new knowledge through novel research inquiries.
A total of 152 undergraduate students from the National University of Singapore participated in two experiments. They were instructed on generating create-level research questions and then were given a scientific text and randomly assigned to one of three learning methods: (a) constructing a concept map, (b) retrieval practice with study and retrieval intervals, or (c) teaching the text through note preparation, video lecture, and answering preset questions. In Experiment 1, the participants were tested on their ability to generate questions at the create-level and recall the text content immediately after the study session. In Experiment 2, all three groups answered preset study questions during the study period, and the tests were conducted after a 48-hour delay. The findings are as follows:
- Learning-by-teaching generated more create-level research questions than concept maps or retrieval practice in both experiments.
- Learning-by-teaching had better content recall than concept mapping, but no significant difference compared to retrieval practice in either experiment.
- Learning-by-teaching outperformed retrieval practice immediately after the study in content recalled test, but retrieval practice performed better during the 48-hour delayed test.
The results indicated that mere acquisition of factual knowledge is inadequate for enhancing higher-order research question generation. Teaching involves organizing materials, generating elaboration and inferences to aid audience understanding. Therefore, the authors suggested that learners who engage in teaching experience higher levels of generative processing, enabling them to generate new ideas and research questions.
Source: Wong, S. S. H., Lim, K. Y. L., & Lim, S. W. H. (2023). To ask better questions, teach: Learning-by-teaching enhances research question generation more than retrieval practice and concept-mapping. Journal of Educational Psychology. https://doi.org/10.1037/edu0000802