Fading

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Fading refers to a reduction in assistance or scaffolding over time. Different dimensions of assistance can be faded:

  • Example to problem fading: Worked-out steps in a worked examples are gradually turned into standard problem solving steps by removing the worked-out elements in the steps (the "answers"). As the assistance of giving the steps is faded, the steps (the answers) are withheld and the student must generate these steps (or answers) themselves. See Renkl et al. study.
  • Study to test fading: Study trials, which present facts ([Chinese symbol] means [English word]), can be faded to test trials, which provide a cue and require students to generate a response ([Chinese symbol] means ?).
  • Timing of feedback fading: immediate feedback (higher assistance) can be faded into delayed feedback (lower assistance).
  • Retention interval fading: Short spacing between problems or tests of the same knowledge component (higher assistance) can be faded into longer spacing. See Pavlik's study.
  • Concreteness fading: facilitating a learner's ability to induce knowledge that transfers by first presenting a concrete example and later presenting an abstract statement of this example. The abstract statement is what the learner ultimately acquires and what allows for transfer, but the initial concrete presentation prepares the learner to understand the abstract statement. Goldstone, R. L., & Son, J. Y. (2005). The transfer of scientific principles using concrete and idealized simulations. The Journal of the Learning Sciences, 14(1), 69–110.