Rules based decision making does not always work with all problems. Some rules based decision making can be applied based on context and in others, student has to first check for a pattern for application before applying it. For instance, in one of the works, student was given three pieces of paper with three pieces of fraction, and student was asked to put them in order of smaller to larger fraction. The student made some numeric calculations on the scrap paper that she was given. It was a pattern for the person in the interview to ask the student how they arrived at the answer. Once the student puts the fractions in the order that they believed right, the person asked them why they thought that such an ordering was right. The student replied that the ordering was based on “how much is left over in the division”. The student mentions what is left over which was used to identify the smallest fraction. This would not be the right method to identify the smallest fraction. The student has made use of a method that would be applied in other contexts to identify the smallest fraction. This is hence an example of how misconceptions arise because of generalizations. Similar form of misconceptions would lead to issues for student to handle problems, like in the case of the 21 pencils problem. Of the 21 pencils, the person gave away 3/7th how much he gave away. Student resorted to understanding shape on a rectangle, but when applied onto numbers, it was seen to take more time.
In order to avoid the generalization of Inappropriate rules based decision, the student must be taught to understand the reason behind the rule. Rules exist because they are an easier way to solve something. However, when the student is not shown the reasoning behind the rule, then they suffer a cognitive gap. As the researcher states the student would not be able to make the cognitive leap. When student understands the reasoning behind a rule, they would not apply it generally. They would check the problem to see if the needed criteria for the application of the rule exists. Once this is established, then the student would apply the rule. This ensures that there is no misconception in applying the rule. Hence, it is the duty of the instructor to make the student more familiar with the reasoning behind why some rules are applied. This instructor could show students different sets of problems to train them on where a rule could be applied and where it should not.