High versus Low Contextual Interference in simulation based training of troubleshooting skills: Effects on transfer performance and invested mental effort.

Marcel B.M. de Croock, M.B.M. de Croock, J.J.G. van Merrienboer, Jeroen J.G. van Merrienboer, Fred G.W.C. Paas

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    The effects of contextual interference on practice behavior, transfer performance, and cognitive load for learning troubleshooting skills were studied. A low contextual interference (LCI) condition, in which subjects practiced to diagnose system failures in a blocked schedule, was compared with a high contextual interference (HCI) condition, in which failures were practiced in a random schedule. The following hypotheses are stated. Hypothesis 1: during practice, subjects in the HCI group will require more time to reach a high performance level (i.e., more accurate and/or faster diagnoses of system failures) on practice problems and will have to invest more mental effort relative to subjects in the LCI group. Hypothesis 2: subjects in the HCI group will show higher performance and lower invested mental effort on far transfer test problems, relative to subjects in the LCI group, but there will be no difference between the groups on near transfer test problems. The results showed that subjects in the HCI group were more accurate in diagnosing far transfer problems, although during practice they needed more time to diagnose system failures and made significantly more incorrect diagnoses.
    Original languageUndefined
    Pages (from-to)249-267
    Number of pages18
    JournalComputers in human behavior
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 1998


    • Contextual interference
    • Cognitive load
    • invested mental effort
    • METIS-135436
    • trouble shooting
    • IR-67976
    • transfer performance

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