PSYC 400 Chapter 4: Cognitive Models of Learning

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29 Dec 2020
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Week 4: Cognitive Models of Learning (Cont.)
Should there be a three-strikes rule against pure discovery learning? The case for guided methods of
instruction (Mayer, 2004)
Pure discovery not good structured/guided discovery better
o Pure discovery fails for selecting relevant incoming information
Constructivist teaching fallacy: equates active learning with active teaching
o Doesn’t mean constructivist learning isnt a worthwhile goal, but constructivist teaching
shouldn’t be restricted to pure discovery methods
o Fallacy that only way to achieve constructivist learning is through lower right quadrant,
fully active
o Author argues both upper (high cognitive, low behavioural) and lower (high cognitive +
behavioural) right quadrants can lead to constructivist learning
For guided discovery, focus on promoting cognitive activity, give instructional guidance, have
curricular focus rather than unstructured exploration
Strike 1: discovery of problem-solving rules
o Study: guidance > discovery for finding out-of-place word
o Guidance good for transfer performance, can help build schemata so new information
easily integrated i.e. CLT
Strike 2: discovery of conservation strategies… Guidance great for children
Strike 2: discovery of programming concepts
o LEGO study: guided discovery group wrote more elegant programs, made better use of
good design principles, solved planning tasks better than pure discovery group
Meaningful learning promoted with cognitive activity (selecting, organizing, integrating
knowledge)
Improving students’ learning with effective learning techniques: promising directions from cognitive
and educational psychology (Dunlosky et al., 2013)
10 learning strategies assessed across…
o Learning conditions: aspects of learning environment in which technique implemented
i.e. self vs group study
o Student characteristics: age, ability, prior knowledge
o Materials: simple concepts to math problems to complicated science texts
o Criterion tasks: different outcome measures relevant to student achievement i.e. tapping
memory, problem solving, comprehension
1. Elaborative interrogation: prompting learners to generate explanation for explicitly stated fact
o Enhances learning by supporting integration of new information with prior knowledge
o Learners activate schemata which help to organize new information, facilitating retrieval
o Organization alone not sufficient must be able to discriminate among related facts to be
accurate when identifying or using learned information
o Prompts explicitly or implicitly invite processing of both similarities and differences
between related entities
Accounts for findings that effects larger when elaborations are precise rather than
imprecise, when prior knowledge is higher rather than lower, and when
elaborations are self-generated rather than provided
o Although most studies have involved individual learning, elaborative-interrogation
effects have also been shown among students working in dyads/small groups
o Relatively robust across different kinds of learners, across wide age range
o Relatively robust across factual material of different kinds and with different contents
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Important to note only been applied to discrete units of factual information
o Possible merit that it requires minimal training and appears to be relatively reasonable
with respect to time demands, consistency of prompts used across studies allow for
relatively straightforward recommendations to students about the nature of the questions
they should use to elaborate on facts during study
o Limitation concerning potentially narrow applicability of elaborative interrogation to
discrete factual statements
o Moderate utility… Need further research to establish generalizability of effects
2. Self-explanation: students explain aspect of processing during learning, enhancing learning by
supporting integration of new information with existing prior knowledge
o Compared with consistent prompts used in elaborative-interrogation, self-explanation
prompts more variable across studies
o Continuum along which self-explanation prompts differ concerns the degree to which
they are content-free versus content-specific
o Effects significantly diminished when learners could access explanations likely made
minimal attempts to answer explanatory prompts before consulting provided information
o Effects shown with both younger and older learners
o Improved students teachers' evaluation of the goodness of practice problems for use in
classroom instruction
o Helped younger learners overcome various kinds of misconceptions, improving children's
understanding of false belief, number conservation, and principles of balance
o Broadly applicable, shown on wide range of criterion measures including far-transfer
But durability underexplored - almost every study has administered criterion tests
within minutes of completion of learning phase
o Limitation that some students may require more instruction to successfully implement
Sometimes students who produce better-quality explanations may have had
greater domain knowledge
Further training may not have benefited the more poorly performing students
o Another issue concerning time demands
o Moderate utilityFurther research to establish durability of effects cross educationally
relevant delays; concern with nontrivial time demands associated with self-explanation
3. Summarization: claims to boost learning/retention since involves attending to and extracting
higher-level meaning; also boosts organizational processing since extracting
gist of a test requires learners to connect disparate pieces
o Difficult to answer how beneficial has been implemented in many different ways across
studies, making it difficult to draw general conclusions about efficacy
o Researchers have started to focus on how to train students to write better summaries
Focus on training reflects belief that quality of summaries matters
o Debate whether better to summarize smaller pieces of text or capture more of text in
larger summary still unresolved
What constitutes most effective summary depends on many factors
o Answer to whether studied text should be present during summarization a complicated
one, depends on ability to summarize when test is absent
o Benefits primarily observed with undergraduates, but younger students can benefit
following extensive training
o General writing skill and interest in topic linked to summarization in seventh graders
o Question whether domain experts would benefit or whether it would be redundant with
processing in which these students would spontaneously engage
o Majority of studies examined effects on either retention of factual details or
comprehension through performance on MC questions, cued recall, or free recall
o Other benefits include enhanced metacognition and note-taking following training
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