ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Personal and Emotional Appeal While Learning

Updated on July 29, 2022

Self-Explain and Elaboration Learning Techniques

There is a better way to study then re-reading. Every serious student takes notes. While you're taking notes from text, it is an easy addition, to propose and give a short answer periodically. It may sound silly, but numerous studies have been done. The effects are longer lasting then re-reading, with an extra boost if you do homework after completing the text. The effectiveness of these techniques is influenced by your answers, not the exact question. You don't need to create extensive answers. Attempting to answer an open-ended question, at about 150 words, is sufficient. These techniques take about as long as reading the text and completing a few exersises, but with better retention and comprehension.

Simple self-prompted why questions are over 25% more effective then rereading text multiple times. 25% is the difference between a C and an A. Roughly 25% is a many times over, independently clinically verified low ball average. This effect isn't short lived either, differences in learning get more pronounced as time goes by.

Why is this relevant? I will demonstrate prompted interrogation and self-explanation by asking why-or-how questions, roughly every 100 to 200 words. I hope this will help you see how easy it is.


Elaboritive Interrogation

Writing answers to why questions is known as elaboritive interrogation. Elaboritive interrogation can be prompted, meaning you are given why questions, or self generated. Self generated questions are slightly more effective. Make your why questions open ended and general. Incorporate previous knowledge and experiences to create the best answers. The answers don't have to be long, but long enough to communicate a basic understanding of what you just read. 5 short sentences are more then adequate.

By answering these why question you are actively associating the new knowledge with your previous knowledge. When you are just reading you are passively associating, which doesn't build the neural connects nearly as well. When people reread they become even more passive, likely just skimming through the material. This technique interrupts passive learning, by actively incorporating previous knowledge with what you intend to learn.

When using elaboritive interrogation you are over 50% more likely to use other effective learning techniques simultaneously.

Why? A few learning strategies worth mentioning are active association, imagery, and mnemonics. Active association is were the learner tries to create patterns that relate new information to old. Imagery is were the learner develops mental pictures to help them remember, and understand new information. Mnemonics are any technique that facilitates memory, an example would be an acronym.

A simple example of elaborative technique would be: Deciduous trees lose their leaves in winter. Why do deciduous trees lose their leaves in winter? Deciduous trees lose their leaves in winter because they enter a dormancy period. The upkeep of foliage is energy expensive, by losing their leaves trees conserve energy. Biological processes are more difficult at temperature extremes. By entering a state of dormancy organisms can use energy reserves that they developed through the growing season. The leaves turn yellow, orange, and red as the tree removes as much nutrients as possible. The re-absorption of the nutrients in the leaves, gives the tree more energy reserves so that it can survive til spring when growing is more optimal.

Elaboritive interrogation does take previous knowledge. The answers to why questions are intended to develop understanding of the relationships instead of memorization. Younger children are better equiped to respond to how questions.


Teachers have models for grading such questions

In this rubric I give an example of a 5 point scoring system commonly used in classrooms. Open ended questions are especially common in history, and other less abstract classes. Personal and emotional statements can extend a useful conveyence of understanding in more abstract classes such as art and math. The grading system also roughly correlates to the number of sentences in the answer.

Rubric for Scoring Solutions to the Problem-Solving Task

Number Example

0 No transfer: Answer does not express any knowledge, or answer is not based on stated problem.

First, I would find out what went wrong in the planning stages, then I would find out about the distribution stages and determine what has gone on. Someone had made an error along the way.

1 Incomplete transfer: Answer contains only one solution (or theme) to the problem.

Check to determine whether some inventory is on display, in lunch rooms of workers, in other places than just the sales floor.

How do you give short answers?

2 Partial transfer: Answer contains two solutions (or themes) to the problem.

I think that if it is a major difference, I would maybe try to recount the merchandise. Then if I still came up with a wrong count, I would check all the backrooms and anywhere else there may be any merchandise, such as offices, or advertising areas. I would ask the employees if they knew where the damaged merchandise went, because that is an important part of the inventory that might have been overlooked.

3 Surface transfer: Answer contains more than two solutions with surface rationale.

I would first do a recount to make sure that I was not at fault. If I still came up with a different amount, I would check my equipment to make sure it was functioning correctly. If after this I still had a lower count than the store’s records, I would notify the store manager and have the manager talk to the personnel who did the count and have them do a recount. Then, if a difference still was seen, I would have the store bring in a third party to do a count and settle the matter.

How does giving rationale for your solutions, create better answers?

4 Justified transfer: Answer contains multiple solutions with some justification or reasoning.

The first step in assessing this problem is to get in touch with the distributors to compare inventory sheets and determine where the problems lie. In doing so, you will be able to determine if you should be receiving more inventory than what you already have. If so, you can ask the distributors to send out the rest of the shipment. However, if the mistake was on your part, you will have to take different actions. You can put less of the merchandise out on the floor at a time, or put it in a location where it is not as easily accessible. Also, talk to the store manager to determine what he or she would like you to do. Make sure to change the inventory count so that there are no discrepancies in the future.

How would supporting all solutions with reasons, help you to understand?

5 Systematic transfer: Answer contains solution strategies with supporting rationale.

First, I would have another person and I count it again to make sure it was not a mistake on my part. If it were still lower, then I would check the back of the store for merchandise that has not been put out yet. If it were still lower, then I would not question it until the end when everything has been counted because some items could have been misplaced or returned. If finally it was still lower, I would subtract the allowed shrinkage and determine how much percentage of the merchandise was still missing. I would let the store managers know and give them some possible reasons and things to look out for in the future. Tell them to be real careful with theft, both internal and external, and make sure that all employees know to write all damaged merchandise and marked-down merchandise in the book and to carefully count all merchandise as it is coming in to make sure that the mistake is not on the vendor’s part.

Rubric Taken From

Dornisch, Michele. "facilitating learning from technology enhanced text: effects of prompted Elaboritive Interrogation". Journal of Educational Research. 99(3) pp156-166. DOI: 10.3200/JOER.99.3.156-166



Answering why questions is difficult if we don't have adequate back ground knowledge. Self-Explanation technique is more effective if why questions are to cumbersome to answer. In Self-Explain you are asked, or ask your self, how questions.

How is this different then Elaborative Interrogation? How questions are very similar to why questions but don't require extensive previous knowledge to give a good answer. The best answers incorporate some previous knowledge that is relevant. The question can be vague like a simple How or more developed.

An example would be: Deciduous trees lose leaves before winter. How do deciduous trees change in winter? During fall, their leaves turn yellow and orange. I use a lawn mower instead of racking them up.

Self-Explanation is intended to encourage drawing from previous knowledge to help retain new information. Using more previous knowledge to develop answers will help to develop a stronger retention of the information. Younger learners, and people encountering new areas of study will gain more with self explanation. Self explanation can utilize limited background knowledge by not requiring concepts to be linked.

founder of the us department of education
founder of the us department of education | Source

Getting the most out of it

Better answers to both why and how questions increase their effectiveness. The short answer format that school teachers look for, are the same answers that you should try to give. This format helps to develop better understanding of the material to be learned.

How? The best answers include previous knowledge that is not included in the to-be-learned material. Including knowledge from home, recess, lunch, or other areas of experience; in our answers helps develop and retain information. An example would be the naming of martial arts moves in MMA such as the Thomas Choke. Joel Thomas is the first person to successfully use it in competition.

For some reason many coaches, teachers, and professors believe that we should learn it by osmosis. Maybe that you should have learned how to create these answers long ago? Being able to develop the greatest answers is not necessary for these techniques to be effective, but attempting too, will make them even more effective. To create excellent short answers give multiple insights with supporting rationale for each.

How would giving better answers help to facilitate learning? The quality of your answers is not as important as giving an answer, the mere attempt is largely sufficient. Your answers should be relevant to the question, and the question relevant to the material.

References to personal knowledge will help to tie in what we are learning with what we already know. Relating what we have experienced with what we are learning, is the single best device for learning. Association is the key to learning, this technique is intended to supply a format that encourages it. By creating answers to basic open-ended question a huge array of brain structures are activated. Using what you already know to develop insights is the biggest predictor of learning, not just with this technique.


These learning techniques have been thoroughly evaluated in clinical studies. In both elaborative interrogation and self explanation, the questions have been studied at simply why and how. When asked simply why, the statistical average didn't change but the range did. When asked simply why, the people who gave more involved answers did better and the people who gave less involved answers did worse. This suggests that giving a through answer is more important if the question is vague.

How would this be true?

The simple format allows these techniques to be applied to almost anything. They are not limited by curriculum demands. You can use them outside of school. The material to be learned doesn't have to be a textbook or a lecture, it can be anything. You can apply it to sports, work, hobbies, any were you want to learn. Martial arts can be used as an example. The progression of common positions are named with native language: open guard to closed gaurd, using hip sweep to mount. If i said it in Japanese it would be much more difficult for a non-japanese speaker to learn. It helps to have vocal communication as these body movements are being trained.


Asking an open-ended question periodically you can learn much more effectively. These techniques have an average increase in learning that can turn a C into an A. These techniques do not to take any longer then common diligent study due to not re-reading and not forgeting as fast. The creating an exact question isn't nearly as important as the answer. Attempting to give a decent answer is all that is necessary for huge gains. Give the best short answer to either how or why.

Why weren't you thought this in school? There is nothing wrong with the American public education system; it works exactly as intended. These techniques have been studied for decades. Teaching methods are thoroughly used, with text books facilitating incorporation of modern teaching methods. Little emphasis has been placed on increasing students ability to learn. By simply taking the time to ask an open-ended question periodically we learn much more effectively.


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)