The goal of this study was to investigate cognitive style (the visualizer–verbalizer dimension) and cognitive ability (spatial and verbal abilities) in terms of corresponding resource use behavior. The study further examined the potential link between cognitive style and cognitive ability based on observable behavior. A total of 67 university students participated in the study by completing an online survey containing a series of questionnaires, tests, and tasks, which assessed their cognitive style, cognitive ability, and resource use behavior. Multinomial logistic regression analyses revealed that cognitive style in general predicts resource use behavior. The findings also showed that spatial ability, particularly lower spatial ability, predicts resource use behavior. This study thus contributes to the literature with theory-based, empirical evidence that cognitive ability is reflected in cognitive style. This study further provides information needed to better understand the interplay between individuals’ cognitive style and cognitive ability and how these may be addressed in the design and implementation of learning environments.
Previous studies have examined the effects of service-learning on student outcomes, but the dynamics and the mechanism of student development have received little attention. The present study aims to investigate how students construct their understanding of course content through service-learning, as well as the role of varied experiences. Eighty-four students were randomly assigned to two different conditions: the low-varied experiences condition (n = 36), in which students served the same child with autism throughout the programme, and the highly-varied experiences condition (n = 48), in which students served two children with autism successively. A total of 483 reflective journals written by students in a 6-week timeframe were analysed. The results indicated that students gained benefits from service-learning in terms of knowledge construction, and the overall change in students’ knowledge construction fluctuated throughout the service-learning process. In addition, students in the highly-varied experiences condition also demonstrated some differences in knowledge construction changes, indicating that varied service experiences might interfere with students’ knowledge construction at the turning point of task changing. The implications for service-learning and instruction are also discussed.
Examining Chinese kindergarten children’s psychological needs satisfaction in problem solving: A self-determination theory perspective
This study examined whether kindergarten children’s psychological needs satisfaction would mediate the relationships between parental scaffolding and children’s use of self-regulated learning (SRL) strategic behaviours. One hundred and thirty Chinese kindergarten children and their parents participated in the study. Parental scaffolding and children’s SRL strategic behaviours were respectively observed in parent–child interaction tasks and child-alone tasks. Drawing on self-determination theory (SDT), children’s satisfaction of three basic needs for competence, autonomy, and relatedness was assessed using both behavioural observation and self-report measures. Among the three aspects of observed needs satisfaction, children’s observed satisfaction of the need for competence was particularly important, mediating all the relationships between three aspects of parental scaffolding and three aspects of children’s SRL strategic behaviours. Children’s perceived needs satisfaction, despite having some correlations with parental scaffolding and children’s SRL, did not mediate any relationships between parental scaffolding and children’s SRL strategic behaviours, which further revealed limitations associated with using self-report measures with young children. The study provides preliminary evidence of the mediating role of psychological needs satisfaction in the relationships between parental scaffolding and children’s SRL in problem-solving situations.
High levels of cognitive and motivational contingency with increasing task complexity results in higher performance
An individual’s learning is determined by cognition, motivation, and social context. Taking these aspects into account, we assessed scaffolding in tutoring situations via contingency to determine how successful and unsuccessful teacher–student interactions are shaped. We aimed to find out how the problem-solving process in successful tutoring situations differs from that in unsuccessful tutoring situations with regard to cognition, motivation and increasing task complexity. Therefore, using a qualitatively oriented multi-method approach, we analyzed 26 tutoring situations involving an algebraic word problem in middle schools. Specifically, we analyzed, first, the tutee’s independent performance in a transfer task, and second, the tutee’s active participation, the activation of participation by the tutor, the impact of errors and the motivational support by the tutor in the tutoring situation. Connecting the results, we composed process graphs and narrative descriptions which revealed three types of successful and three types of unsuccessful teacher–student interaction, depending on the level of the tutee’s participation and uncovered cognitive activity (i.e., reactive, collaborative, self-responsible). In successful tutoring situations, the graphs showed high levels of cognitive and motivational support with increasing task complexity. However, in the type reactive participation, motivational support was low. Thus, contingent support should be adapted to the learner’s current understanding and task complexity, and motivational support should be administered plausibly for the learner. With this research, we offer a tool to assess contingency regarding cognitive and motivational support in a task-solving process. The results are discussed in relation to the Interactive–Constructive-Active–Passive framework and Cognitive Load Theory.
Immediate and delayed effects of a modeling example on the application of principles of good feedback practice: a quasi-experimental study
The learning benefits of peer assessment and providing peer feedback have been widely reported. However, it is still not understood which learning activities most facilitate the acquisition of feedback skills. This study aimed to compare the effect of a modeling example, i.e., a model that demonstrated how to give feedback, on the acquisition of feedback skills. The participants were second-year bachelor students in pedagogical sciences (N = 111). They were assigned randomly to a practice condition, in which they practiced giving feedback on oral presentations, or a modeling example condition, in which a teacher demonstrated how to give feedback on a good and a bad presentation. Students then gave feedback to a presenter in a video (direct feedback measure). One week later, they gave each other peer feedback on oral presentations (delayed feedback measure). On the direct feedback measure, students in the modeling example condition used assessment criteria more often in their feedback, and produced significantly more overall feedback, and significantly more positive and negative judgments than students in the practice condition. There was no significant difference in the amount of elaboration and feed-forward between the two conditions. On the delayed feedback measure, there were no significant differences between the two experimental conditions. The results suggest that, at least in the short term, a modeling example can stimulate the use of assessment criteria and judgments in feedback. The results and implications for future research and practice are discussed.
Two experiments investigated the extent to which the concreteness of titles affects metacognitive text expectations, study motivation, and comprehension test performance. Sixty-three American and 61 German students were presented with three titles (either concrete or abstract), based upon which the students estimated their expected ease-of-comprehension, and the expected interestingness, of three expository texts. Students also reported how motivated they were to study the texts. The students then studied the texts and completed comprehension tests. The results revealed that students expected texts with concrete (as opposed to abstract) titles to be easier to comprehend and more interesting, and were more motivated to study those texts. Structural Equation Modelling revealed that the effects of titles on reported study motivation were mediated by expected interestingness. In addition to that, expected interestingness and reported study motivation were partially mediated by expected ease-of-comprehension. Comprehension test performance was not affected. The results provide robust evidence for positive motivational effects of concrete titles. More specifically, the results indicate that concrete titles—which are specific and easy to imagine—promote students’ motivation to study expository texts by encouraging the students to expect that they will find the texts interesting, and that they will be able to understand the texts.
Effects of problem–example and example–problem pairs on gifted and nongifted primary school students’ learning
Example-based learning (i.e., studying examples to learn a problem–solution procedure, often alternated with solving practice problems) leads to better learning outcomes than solving practice problems only, and video examples are increasingly being used in online and blended learning environments. Recent findings show that the presentation order of examples and problems affects learning: Example–problem pairs have been found to be more effective than problem–example pairs. We investigated a motivational explanation for this difference, which states that starting with a practice problem might be too difficult, causing learners to lose confidence and motivation to study. We investigated this by presenting gifted (n = 61) and nongifted primary school students (n = 65) with two problem–example or example–problem pairs. We hypothesized that gifted students, who generally report higher perceived competence and autonomy and higher need for cognition, would be less affected by the difficulty of starting with a problem. As expected, gifted students indeed reported higher motivation and confidence than nongifted students, and gifted students were more efficient learners. In contrast to our expectations, however, there was no difference between gifted and nongifted students in the effect of the different task sequences on test performance. Studying example–problem pairs was more efficient than studying problem–example pairs, both for gifted and nongifted students.
The effects of spacing patterns on incidental L2 vocabulary learning through reading with electronic glosses
This study investigates the impact of spacing on L2 incidental vocabulary learning. The participants divided into three groups studied the same 20 target words, which occurred nine times in 36 short reading texts in a Moodle course. The first group read four passages and thus saw each target words once per session each week in the nine-week period (nine sessions, fixed spacing group). The second group (three sessions, spaced massing with fixed intervals) and the third group (three sessions, spaced massing with expanding intervals) studied 12 passages each session and saw each target item three times per session. While the second group studied the passages within a seven-week period with a two-week and a three-week interval (three sessions), the third group studied the passages in three consecutive weeks (three sessions). So, all of the three groups saw the same 20 target words a total of nine times with different massing and spacing patterns. The participants were given the Vocabulary Knowledge Scale (the VKS) before and after the treatment and a multiple-choice test immediately after the treatment period. The results indicated that the fixed spacing group outperformed the spaced massing with fixed intervals and spaced massing with expanding intervals.
Asking students to be active learners: the effects of totally or partially self-generating a graphic organizer on students’ learning performances
We compared performances on a learning task in which students (N = 81) viewed a pedagogical multimedia document without (control group) or with a readymade graphic organizer (readymade group) with performances on an active learning task where students self-generated a graphic organizer either totally (total self-generated group) or partially (partial self-generated group) while learning from the same multimedia document. According to the generative hypothesis, asking students to actively engage in the construction of a graphic organizer enhances their learning, owing to the generative processes (selection, organization, integration) required to perform the task. However, according to the cognitive load hypothesis, generating a graphic organizer can hinder students’ learning, owing to the extraneous processing elicited by the task. It can nonetheless be assumed that if scaffolding is provided to students in the shape of an empty graphic organizer to fill in, these negative effects can be avoided. Results confirmed the beneficial effect of providing a graphic organizer on students’ retention of the elements contained in the multimedia document (macrostructure information, hierarchical relations). Evidence in favor of the cognitive load hypothesis and against the generative hypothesis was found, as students in the total self-generated group performed more poorly on the retention and transfer tests than those in the readymade group. This negative effect on learning ceased to be observed when scaffolding was provided to students in the partial self-generated group, although they still spent more time on the document than those in the readymade group. Overall, we failed to observe any beneficial effect of generation on learning.
The effect of language modification of mathematics story problems on problem-solving in online homework
Students’ grasp of the non-mathematical language in a mathematics story problem—such as vocabulary and syntax—may have an important effect on their problem-solving, and this may be particularly true for students with weaker language skills. However, little experimental research has examined which individual language features influence students’ performance while solving problems—much research has been correlational or has combined language features together. In the present study, we manipulated six different language features of algebra story problems—number of sentences, pronouns, word concreteness, word hypernymy, consistency of sentences, and problem topic—and examined how systematically varying readability demands impacts student performance. We examined both accuracy and response time measures, using an assignment for learning linear functions in the ASSISTments online problem-solving environment. We found little evidence that individual language features have a considerable effect on mathematics word problem solving performance for a general population of students. However, sentence consistency reduced response time and problems about motion or travel had shorter response times than problems about business or work. In addition, it appears students may benefit or be harmed by language modifications depending on their familiarity with ASSISTments. Implications for the role of language in math word problems are discussed.
Developing a smart classroom infrastructure to support real-time student collaboration and inquiry: a 4-year design study
K-12 classroom settings are not yet incorporating emerging technologies such as ubiquitous computing, augmented reality, nor even touch surfaces, despite the significant impact that such media have made in many other aspects of our lives. Unfortunately, classroom environments have not generally evolved to support students in the new modes of collaboration, idea sharing, and inquiry that characterize many of our research-based innovations. Responding to this challenge, our research was conducted by a multi-disciplinary design team including educational researchers, a high school physics teacher, and technology designers. We embarked on a series of design-based research projects to investigate a smart classroom infrastructure that scaffolds students and teachers in new forms of collaboration and inquiry, including a substantive role for large projected displays and small touch surfaces, as well as a dependency on students’ physical location within the room. This paper describes our designs, including: (1) the role of large displays for communicating aggregate and ambient information, (2) the role of real-time communication between students, (3) the application of intelligent software agents to enact real-time pedagogical logic, (4) support for learning across contexts, and (5) orchestration of inquiry roles, materials and environments. These designs are particularly relevant for the Learning Sciences community, as they offer insight into how the orchestrated classroom can support new forms of collaborative, cooperative and collective inquiry. One important outcome of this work is a set of design principles for supporting smart classroom research.
Computer-enabled visual creativity: an empirically-based model with implications for learning and instruction
This study focuses on visual creativity and how it can be supported with computer technologies and thereby be used to support learning and instruction. However, studies related to computer-enabled visual creativity have not been frequently explored. As such, the current research proposes a model consisting of four major factors: (a) computer-aided visual art self-efficacy, (b) computer self-efficacy, (c) general creative self-efficacy, and (d) visual creativity. The aim is to explore the causal relationships among these factors so that they can then be used to support creativity, especially in the context of learning and instruction. To test the proposed model, this study firstly collected a total of 736 responses from an American public university to construct a scale using exploratory factor analyses and confirmatory factor analyses for three factors: (a) computer self-efficacy, (b) computer-aided visual art self-efficacy, and (c) general creative self-efficacy. Later, 164 responses were collected to analyze those hypothesized predictors of visual creativity and their relationships using structural equation modeling with Mplus. The results of the study indicate that computer self-efficacy was a significant predictor of computer-aided visual art self-efficacy, which in turn was a significant predictor of general creative self-efficacy. General creative self-efficacy, in turn, was a significant predictor of visual creativity. Finally, the study yielded a significant indirect effect of computer-aided visual art self-efficacy on visual creativity as mediated by general creative self-efficacy. Implications for learning and instruction are discussed as well as future studies to further research to develop relevant models of visual creativity in support of learning.
There is a lack of research and practice focused on how to foster higher-order processing, such as creative performance, within higher education settings. To address this gap in research, we chose to study pedagogical practices in schools of art and design, where one of the intended learning outcomes is creativity. Based upon data gathered as part of a larger study (Sawyer in Thinking Skills and Creativity, http://doi.org/10.1016/J.TSC.2018.08.002, 2018), we found that among a large number of creative performance pedagogical practices we identified, a subset seemed to foster self-regulated learning (SRL). Therefore, the goal of our study was to identify the ways art and design professors enacted practices that foster their students’ self-regulation during learning and performance. We found these professors utilized a number of direct and indirect methods of fostering their students’ SRL, all intended to enhance students’ ability to enact creative performance. In addition to revealing interesting comparisons between SRL in art and design and other more commonly studied contexts such as science or history, our findings suggested numerous directions for expanding SRL models, including a greater focus on process as the outcome of SRL, a need to continue research into SRL during higher-order processing, and gaps regarding the development of SRL.
Bolstering students’ written argumentation by refining an effective discourse intervention: negotiating the fine line between flexibility and fidelity
Effective interventions are needed to bolster students’ argumentation capacities, an area in which they consistently struggle. Quality Talk (QT) is an approach to small-group classroom discussion shown to support students’ oral argumentation with preliminary evidence that it may also bolster students’ written argumentation. Teachers often must adapt interventions to their local context, balancing needed flexibility with sufficient adherence to fidelity to reach expected efficacy. The present study was conducted over one school year with two fifth-grade teachers and their 46 students. In Phase I, two participating teachers implemented a refined version of QT, and we examined the effects on students’ oral and written argumentation performance. While typical gains in students’ oral argumentation performance were evidenced, students’ written argumentation did not improve to the degree expected, particularly in terms of performance with unfamiliar texts. In Phase II, both teachers reincorporated a component of QT (i.e., regular post-discussion written argumentation practice) they had adapted in Phase I, and one teacher added a new written argumentation scaffold designed to further bolster students’ transfer from oral to written argumentation. By the end of the study, students from both classes evidenced growth in written argumentation, but the students from the class receiving the writing scaffold outperformed comparison class students with large effects. Findings underscore the importance of including regular post-discussion written argumentation practice and illustrate the added value of a new written argumentation scaffold, while also contributing to a better understanding of how to balance flexibility and fidelity for efficacious QT implementation.
Research has shown that retrieval activities, that is, actively recalling previously studied information, may substantially contribute to learning from complex educational materials, sometimes more so than other more popular techniques such as rereading and elaborative study. In this context, recent studies (Blunt and Karpicke, J Educ Psychol 106:849–858, 2014) have reported that two different retrieval formats (free recall by writing down as many ideas as possible and creating a concept map in the absence of texts) are equally effective as learning tools. Given the benefits frequently attributed to concept mapping and the potential practical implications of this finding, we aimed to further examine the relative effectiveness of both retrieval-based activities. In Experiment 1, we conceptually replicated the main finding from Blunt and Karpicke’s study to show that the two formats may lead to similar learning outcomes. In Experiment 2, we coupled both retrieval formats but manipulated the order in which the activities were performed. Results revealed that retrieval-based concept mapping before free recall by means of paragraph writing resulted in better learning on a 2-week delayed test than performing the same activities the other way round. These findings contradict the general idea that it is retrieval itself, regardless of the activity it is embedded in, what promotes learning. From a more applied standpoint, our results join others from recent studies to show that combining different retrieval activities when dealing with educational materials might be particularly effective.
How to improve argumentation comprehension in university students: experimental test of a training approach
The ability to comprehend informal arguments is essential for scientific literacy but students often lack structural knowledge about these arguments, especially when the arguments are more complex. This study used a pre-post-test design with a follow-up 4 weeks later to investigate whether a computerised training in identifying structural components of informal arguments can improve university students’ competences to understand complex arguments. The training was embedded in a constructivist learning environment and contents were based on the Toulmin model of argument structure, according to which arguments can be deconstructed into several functional components: Claim, datum, warrant, backing evidence, and rebuttal. Being able to identify the warrant is central for scientific literacy, as the warrant determines whether a conclusion is justified given the data. Results indicate that training in argument structure did not generally improve performance for all students and argument types, but that it was particularly helpful for identifying more complex arguments with a less typical structure and relational aspects between key components (i.e. warrants). High achieving students profited the most from this intervention, and the intervention was also helpful for students with high pretest accuracy scores. Our results suggest that interventions to foster argumentation skills should be included into the curriculum and these interventions should be designed to match learners’ ability level.
Emotion regulation tendencies, achievement emotions, and physiological arousal in a medical diagnostic reasoning simulation
Despite the importance of emotion regulation in education there is a paucity of research examining it in authentic educational contexts. Moreover, emotion measurement continues to be dominated by self-report measures. We address these gaps in the literature by measuring emotion regulation and activation in 37 medical students’ who were solving medical cases using BioWorld, a computer based learning environment. Specifically, we examined students’ habitual use of emotion regulation strategies as well as electrodermal activation (emotional arousal) from skin conductance level (SCL) or skin conductance response (SCR), as well as appraisals of control and value and self-reported emotional responses during a diagnostic reasoning task in Bioworld. Our results revealed that medical students reported significantly higher habitual levels of reappraisal than suppression ER strategies. Higher habitual levels of reappraisal significantly and positively predicted learners’ self-reported pride. On the other hand, higher habitual levels of suppression significantly and positively predicted learners’ self-reported anxiety, shame, and hopelessness. Results also revealed that medical students experienced relatively low SCLs and few SCRs while interacting with Bioworld. Habitual suppression strategies significantly and positively predicted medical students’ SCLs, while SCRs significantly and positively predicted their diagnostic efficiency. Findings also revealed a significant, positive predictive relationship between SCL and shame and anxiety and the inverse relationship between SCL and task value. Implications and future directions are discussed.