Metaphors as learning aids in university lectures

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Two experiments were conducted with college students to determine the extent to which metaphors affected the learning of statistical principles. The first experiment used examples from nonbusiness domains as metaphors in a lecture on the scientific method applied to business decisions. The question was whether these metaphors would help students generate novel examples of statistics used to make business decisions. The results indicated that the students taught with metaphors generated more examples than students who learned the same material without metaphors. Two other questions not addressed by the metaphors showed no differences between the two groups. The second experiment tested whether metaphors improved the inferences students made in answering questions based on the information presented in the lectures. The results confirmed that students taught with metaphors were better able to make appropriate inferences than students taught without the aid of metaphors. Furthermore, the students who were taught with metaphors were superior in working solutions to a problem set.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)91-99
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Experimental Education
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1988


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