Factors affecting Learning
Instructional Design is largely affected by how a user learns:
Meaningfulness effect Highly
meaningful words are easier to learn and remember than less meaningful words.
This is true whether meaningful is measured by
1) the number of associations
the learner has for the word,
2) by frequency of the word
3) or by
familiarity with the sequential order of letters,
4) or the tendency of the
work to elicit clear images.
An implication is that retention will be
improved to the extent the user can make meaning of the material.
Serial position effects Serial position effects result from the
particular placement of an item within a list. Memory is better for items placed
at beginning or end of list rather than in the middle. An exception to these
serial positions is the distinctiveness effect - an item that is distinctively
different from the others will be remembered better, regardless of serial
Practice effects Active practice or rehearsal improves
retention, and distributed practice is usually more effective than massed
practice. The advantage to distributed practice is especially noticeable for
lists, fast presentation rates or unfamiliar stimulus material. The advantage to
distributed practice apparently occurs because massed practice allows the
learner to associate a word with only a single context, but distributed practice
allows association with many different contexts.
Transfer effects are effects of prior learning on the leaning of new
material. Positive transfer occurs when previous learning makes new learning
easier. Negative transfer occurs when it makes the new learning more difficult.
The more that two tasks have in common, the more likely that transfer effects
Interference effects. Interference effects occur when
memory or particular material is hurt by previous or subsequent learning.
Interference effects occur when trying to remember material that has previously
been learned. Interference effects are always negative.
effects Organization effects occur when learners chunk or categorize the
input. Free recall of lists is better when learners organize the items into
categories rather than attempt to memorize the list in serial
Levels-of-Processing effects The more deeply a word is
processed, the better it will be remembered. Semantic encoding of content is
likely to lead to better memory. Elaborative encoding, improves memory by making
sentences more meaningful.
State-Dependent effects State- or
Context-dependent effects occur because learning takes place in within a
specific context that must be accessible later, at least initially, within the
same context. For example, lists are more easily remembered when the test
situation more closely resembles the leaning situation, apparently due to
contextual cues available to aid in information retrieval.
effects Mnemonics - strategies for elaborating on relatively meaningless
input by associating the input with more meaningful images or semantic context.
Four well-known mnemonic methods are the place method, the link method, the peg
method and the keyword method.
Abstraction effects Abstraction is the tendency of
learners to pay attention to and remember the gist of a passage rather than the
specific words of a sentence. In general, to the extent that learners assume the
goal is understanding rather than verbatim memory and the extent that the
material can be analyzed into main ideas and supportive detail, learners will
tend to concentrate on the main ideas and to retain these in semantic forms that
are more abstract and generalized than the verbatim sentences included in the
Levels effect This effect occurs when the learner
perceives that some parts of the passage are more important than others. Parts
that occupy higher levels in the organization of the passage will be learned
better than parts occupying low levels.
effects Prior knowledge effects will occur to the extent that the learner
can use existing knowledge to establish a context or construct a schema into
which the new information can be assimilated.
Inference effects occur when learners use schemas or other prior knowledge to
make inferences about intended meanings that go beyond what is explicitly stated
in the text. Three kinds of inferences are case grammar pre-suppositions,
conceptual dependency inferences and logical deductions.
misconception effects. Prior knowledge can lead to misconceptions.
Misconceptions may be difficult to correct due to fact that learner may not be
aware that knowledge s a misconception. Misconception occurs when input is
filtered through schemas that are oversimplified, distorted or
Text Organization Effects Text organization refers to
the effects that the degree and type of organization built into a passage have
on the degree and type of information that learners encode and remember.
Structural elements such as advanced organizers, previews, logical sequencing,
outline formats, higlighting of main ideas and summaries assist learning in
retaining information. These organization effects facilitate chunking,
subsumption of material into schemas and related processes that enable encoding
as an organized body of meaningful knowledge. In addition, text organization
elements cue learners to which aspects of the material are most
Mathemagenic effects, coined
by Rothkopf (1970) , refer to various things that learners
do to prepare and assist their own learning. These effects refer to the active
information processing by learners. Mathemagenic activities include answering
adjunct questions or taking notes and can enhance
Educational Psychology A Realistic Approach:
Good, T.E. and Brophy, J.E. Third edition. Longman Publishing, New York.1986.
Theories of Learning: Hilgard, E.R. and Bower, G.H. Fourth Ediction.
Prentice-Hall, Inc. Englewood Cliffs, NJ 1975.