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Lab Contact: Mark Hodds
Team: Kate Green, Sarah Merry

Proofs: Deconstructing Logical Arguments - Title Graphic

Project Leader: Mark Hodds


This project is led by Mark Hodds in sigma and has two main focuses. The first, within the field of mathematics, is to try and improve students understanding of mathematical proofs. It is well documented that students struggle to understand and construct mathematical proofs despite it being a key part of the curriculum in higher education and beyond. The second focus is to see whether we can use the same method to improve mathematical understanding in non-mathematicians. The method used in this project is called self-explanation training.


Project Details

Self-explanation training can be considered as a form of flipped learning where the student teaches themselves, firstly, how to better understand the mathematics given to them and, secondly, apply that training to any mathematics given to them in the future. The training has previously taken the form of a booklet (see Hodds, Alcock and Inglis, 2014) and was shown to significantly improve students’ understanding of mathematical proofs. However, the use of a booklet may not be the most appropriate form of training for certain students and it has not been shown to improve students’ understanding of mathematics as non-mathematicians.

With the help of the DMLL, the aim of this project is to determine whether mathematics students at Coventry improve their understanding of mathematical proofs given a particular type of training and also whether self-explanation training in any form can help non-mathematicians improve their understanding of the mathematics on their course.

The initial forms of the training being investigated will be videos, audio, lecture capture and PowerPoint presentations. Students from the EEC and HLS faculties will initially take part in this project with the goal to create self-explanation training for both mathematicians and non-mathematicians.


  • To investigate the different forms of self-explanation training on mathematics students’ understanding of mathematical proofs.
  • To investigate the different forms of self-explanation training on non-mathematics students’ understanding of mathematics in their course.
  • To produce forms of self-explanation training that can be used by students at Coventry University and eventually disseminated worldwide.


Project Timeline:

Start date

March 1st 2015

End date

December 31st 2016





  • Project leader: Dr Mark Hodds
  • Klodian Beqa, Asha Khalif and Rory Walker (Sigma)
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