Effectiveness of eye movement modeling examples in problem solving: The role of verbal ambiguity and prior knowledge

Tim Van Marlen, Margot Van Wermeskerken, H.M. Jarodzka, Tamara Van Gog

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Eye movement modeling examples (EMME) are video modeling examples with the model's eye movements superimposed. Thus far, EMME on problem-solving tasks seem to be effective for guiding students' attention, but this does not translate into higher learning outcomes. We therefore investigated the role of ambiguity of the verbal explanation and prior knowledge in the effectiveness of EMME on geometry problems. In Experiment 1, 57 university students observed EMME or regular video modeling examples (ME) with ambiguous verbal explanations. Eye-tracking data revealed that –as in prior research with unambiguous explanations- EMME successfully guided students' attention but did not improve test performance, possibly due to students' high prior knowledge. Therefore, Experiment 2, was conducted with 108 secondary education students who had less prior knowledge, using a 2 (EMME/ME) x 2 (ambiguous/unambiguous explanations) between-subjects design. Verbal ambiguity did not affect learning, but students in the EMME conditions outperformed those in the ME conditions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)274 – 283
Number of pages10
JournalLearning & Instruction
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2018



  • Example-based learning
  • Eye tracking
  • Attention cueing
  • Eye movement modeling examples

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