Subgoal labeled expository instructions and worked examples have been shown to positively impact student learning and performance in computer science education. This study examined whether problem solving performance differed based on the order of expository instructions and worked examples and the presence of subgoal labels within the instructions. Participants were 132 undergraduate college students. A significant interaction showed that when learners were presented with the worked example followed by the expository instructions containing subgoal labels, the learner was better at outlining the procedure for creating an application. However, the manipulations did not affect novel problem solving performance or explanations of solutions,. These results suggest that the order instructional materials are presented have has little impact on problem solving, although some benefit can be gained from presenting the worked example before the expository instructions when subgoal labels are included.
Schaeffer, L. M., Margulieux, L. E., & Catrambone, R. Interaction of instructional materials order and subgoal labels on learning in programming. In A. Papafragou, D. Grodner, D. Mirman, & J.C. Trueswell (Eds.), Proceedings of the 38th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society (pp. 271-276). Austin, TX: Cognitive Science Society, 2016.