The Effect of Self-Generated Elaboration on Students' Recall of Tax and Accounting Material: Further Evidence
Research has shown that active learning strategies often lead to better recall of material than do passive strategies. This study compared the effectiveness of self-generated elaboration (an active learning method) and instructor-provided elaboration (a more passive method) in an accounting setting. High and low ability subjects were presented a series of simple tax laws and complex accounting concepts under the conditions of self-generated or instructor-provided elaboration. The results indicate that the active method better promotes recall of both simple and complex accounting material. In addition, both high and low ability accounting students benefited from the use of the active method. Especially for low ability students, a factor associated with the effectiveness of the active method was the students' ability to generate reasonable explanations of the material presented.