Learning and Instruction

Published by Elsevier BV

Print ISSN: 0959-4752


Aids to computer-based multimedia learning. Learn. Instruct. 12: 107-119
  • Article

February 2002


990 Reads


Roxana Moreno
Computer-based multimedia learning environments — consisting of pictures (such as animation) and words (such as narration) — offer a potentially powerful venue for improving student understanding. How can we use words and pictures to help people understand how scientific systems work, such as how a lightning storm develops, how the human respiratory system operates, or how a bicycle tire pump works? This paper presents a cognitive theory of multimedia learning which draws on dual coding theory, cognitive load theory, and constructivist learning theory. Based on the theory, principles of instructional design for fostering multimedia learning are derived and tested. The multiple representation principle states that it is better to present an explanation in words and pictures than solely in words. The contiguity principle is that it is better to present corresponding words and pictures simultaneously rather than separately when giving a multimedia explanation. The coherence principle is that multimedia explanations are better understood when they include few rather than many extraneous words and sounds. The modality principle is that it is better to present words as auditory narration than as visual on-screen text. The redundancy principle is that it is better to present animation and narration than to present animation, narration, and on-screen text. By beginning with a cognitive theory of how learners process multimedia information, we have been able to conduct focused research that yields some preliminary principles of instructional design for multimedia messages.

Cooperative learning and the achievement of motivation and perceptions of students in 11th grade chemistry classes

February 2004


754 Reads

One hundred and sixty eight students from five 11th grade chemistry classes participated for 2 months in an experiment that examined the effects of the Group Investigation (GI) method of cooperative learning on students’ achievement, motivation and perceptions of their experience. An achievement test and Harter’s Motivation Questionnaire were administered before and after the experiment. Students from experimental classes also wrote letters telling what they thought about the new method. Middle and low achieving students in the GI classes achieved higher scores, while motivation declined in the experimental group compared to the control group. Students’ letters revealed that 41.7% of the comments were critical, 28.8% were positive, and 29.4% were suggested ways of improving the new method.

DeFT: A conceptual framework for learning with multiple representations. Learning and Instruction, 16, 183-198
  • Article
  • Full-text available

June 2006


4,723 Reads

Multiple (external) representations can provide unique benefits when people are learning complex new ideas. Unfortunately, many studies have shown this promise is not always achieved. The DeFT (Design, Functions, Tasks) framework for learning with multiple representations integrates research on learning, the cognitive science of representation and constructivist theories of education. It proposes that the effectiveness of multiple representations can best be understood by considering three fundamental aspects of learning: the design parameters that are unique to learning with multiple representations; the functions that multiple representations serve in supporting learning and the cognitive tasks that must be undertaken by a learner interacting with multiple representations. The utility of this framework is proposed to be in identifying a broad range of factors that influence learning, reconciling inconsistent experimental findings, revealing under-explored areas of multi-representational research and pointing forward to potential design heuristics for learning with multiple representations.

Methodological challenges for collaborative learning research. Learning and Instruction, 17(4), 389-393

August 2007


388 Reads

Research on collaborative learning, both face-to-face and computer-supported, has thrived in the past 10 years. The studies range from outcome-oriented (individual and group learning) to process-oriented (impact of interaction on learning processes, motivation and organisation of collaboration) to mixed studies. Collaborative learning research is multidisciplinary. This introduces a multitude of theoretical accounts for collaborative learning, accompanied by a broad spectrum of methods to study processes and outcomes of collaboration. This special issue will provide an overview of methods that are at the core of current research effort, but also identifies opportunities and problems to sensibly combine methods into mixed method approaches.

Bringing about Change in the Classroom: Strengths and Weaknesses of the Self-Regulated Learning Approach - EARLI Presidential Address, 2001

December 2002


585 Reads

In an attmpt to help both students and teachers to change their traditional roles in the classroom, educational psychologists have engaged in two types of projects. The first project can be condensed to “understanding the dynamics of self-regulated learning”. The second project can be summarized as “understanding the dynamics of powerful learning environments as a way to promote self-regulation in the classroom”. In this essay I attempt to establish the centrality of self-regulation as a theoretical assumption and a fundamental psychological construct. I argue that most current psychological models of self-regulation, and by implication the innovation programs that are based on these models, are not well focused, are incomplete, and harbor many misconceptions. I also argue that educational psychologists need to broaden the way they conceptualize the dynamics of learning contexts and find new ways to study the integrated processes that make up self-regulation in the context of the classroom. My main message is that students bring their own goals to the classroom and that these goals are the key to their adaptation system. These personal goals give meaning and organization, or in other words purpose, to a student’s adaptation processes in the classroom. Some of my comments are critical, but I do not intend to discredit the important work that has been done in this area. Rather, I want to argue that educational psychologists nee to broaden the way they conceptualize the dynamics of learning contexts and find new ways to study the integrated processes that make up self-regulation in teh context of the classroom. Doing so requires not only using a kaleidoscope of teaching methods, but also looking beyond these methods to explore the possibilities of theories that remain marginalized in educational research.

Learning to reason via instruction in argumentation. Learning and Instruction, 1, 337-350

December 1991


81 Reads

In this paper we argue that argumentation, defined as the generation and evaluation of arguments, is at the core of reasoning and that instruction in argumentation is therefore critical to the development of reasoning skill. Argumentation and its relation to informal reasoning is discussed, followed by consideration of factors that influence argumentation performance, with an account of an expert student reasoner provided. Instruction in argumentation is then considered, with suggestions presented based upon our attempts at such instruction.

Fig. 1. Model of country, SES, and self-concept effects on students' mathematics achievement.  
Table 1 Country means of key variables.
Fig. 2. Schools with steeper calibration slopes might typically have higher mathematics scores (positive dispersion). Or, schools with steeper slopes might typically have lower mathematics scores (negative dispersion). 
Table 2 Summary statistics of variables.
Table 4 Summaries of the six regression models predicting students' mathematics achievement with unstandardized coefficients, standard errors (in parentheses), and standardized coefficients.


Relations of mathematics self-concept and its calibration with mathematics achievement: Cultural differences among fifteen-year-olds in 34 countries

February 2010


290 Reads

We examined the effects of mathematics self-concept (MSC) and MSC calibration on mathematics achievement through multilevel analyses of the mathematics tests and questionnaire responses of 88,590 15-year olds who participated in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development's (OECD) Program for International Student Assessment (PISA). Students with higher MSC or MSC calibration had higher mathematics scores. Students' MSC was more strongly linked to mathematics achievement in countries that were wealthier, more egalitarian, more tolerant of uncertainty, or more flexible regarding gender roles. Calibration of MSC was more strongly linked to mathematics achievement for boys, for low-achievers, and for students in countries that were wealthier, more egalitarian, or more tolerant of uncertainty. Students overestimating their mathematics competence often had low mathematics scores.

Table 1 The participating countries and their characteristics
Table 2 Multilevel regressions of mathematics scores with unstandardized regression coefficients (N ¼ 107,975)
Family and motivation effects on mathematics achievement: Analyses of students in 41 countries

August 2008


1,536 Reads

This study examines family and motivation effects on student mathematics achievement across 41 countries. The Rasch estimates of PISA mathematics test scores and questionnaire responses of 107,975 15-year-old students were analyzed via multilevel analyses. Students scored higher in richer or more egalitarian countries; when living with two parents, without grandparents, with fewer siblings (especially fewer older siblings); with higher family SES, more books, cultural possessions, or cultural communication; or when they had greater interest in mathematics, more effort and perseverance, and higher self-efficacy or self-concept. Family structure effects were stronger in individualistic or richer countries. Richer countries showed stronger family cultural communication effects, suggesting stronger, intangible resource effects.

The development of quantitative-relational abilities from childhood to adolescence: Structure, scaling, and individual differences

August 1991


146 Reads






The present article discusses the nature of the quantitative-relational system, which involves the basic arithmetic operations, proportional reasoning, algebraic ability, and the integration of these three abilities. Representative sets of tasks that assess each of these abilities were administered to 372 Greek subjects aged 9 to 16 to test hypotheses about (a) the structure and (b) the development of this cognitive system, and (c) about the role of individual differences variables, such as subjects' gender and SES. (a) Structural equations modelling revealed three specific ability factors (execution of arithmetic operations, proportional, and algebraic reasoning) and a higher-order general factor that loaded all specific factors. The higher-order factor may be abolished once the relations between the first order factors are specified. (b) Recently developed techniques (discrimination and rating scale analysis) basically confirmed the developmental levels initially assigned to most of the tasks. More importantly, the tasks pertaining to the different partial abilities could be ordered along a single developmental dimension with items from different abilities intertwined. This intertwining suggested that each ability's development precipitates and is precipitated by the development of the other abilities. (c) The structure of abilities was found not to be affected by individual differences factors. (d) Using the unified developmental scale as a frame of reference, gender and SES differences were found at age points associated with major developmental changes. Implications of these findings for theories of cognitive development and education are discussed within the framework of experiential structuralism.

Creative thinking instruction for aboriginal children

March 1996


96 Reads

Educational responses to the wide-spread failure of indigenous children in Westernised schools have not made the desired impact. In Australia, for example, an appropriate elementary education for many Aboriginal children cannot be guaranteed. Suggestions in the psychological literature that Aboriginal children might experience success in programs that value and promote creative thinking, motivated the design of the present study. This study, then, evaluates the effects of a general thinking skills program, de Bono's CoRT (Cognitive Research Trust) Program, which features divergent and creative thinking. The results reveal that the implemented CoRT program can enhance the creative thinking of Aboriginal children in mainstream classrooms, but not their scholastic aptitude, school achievement, thinking approaches, self-concept as a thinker, and internal locus of control. Issues of both implementation strategy, including the infusion of the thinking skills throughout the curriculum, and classroom practice are discussed with a view to enhance the children's success in thinking performance and transfer to other class activities.

Scientific investigations, metaphorical gestures, and the emergence of abstract scientific concepts

June 2002


201 Reads

Where anthropological and psychological studies have shown that gestures are a central feature of communication and cognition, little is known about the role of gesture in learning and instruction. Drawing from a large database on student learning, we show that when students engage in conversations in the presence of material objects, these objects provide a phenomenal ground against which students can enact metaphorical gestures that embody (give a body to) entities that are conceptual and abstract. In such instances, gestures are often subsequently replaced by an increasing reliance upon the verbal mode of communication. If gestures constitute a bridge between experiences in the physical world and abstract conceptual language, as we conjecture here, our study has significant implications for both learning and instruction.

Constructing a Mental Representation from an Abstract Technical Diagram

January 1993


44 Reads

The construction of a mental representation from a weather map diagram by professional meteorologists and nonmeteorologists was investigated using a series of drawing tasks. Subjects first produced a drawn copy of a weather map diagram onto a blank map of Australia. Conditions during the copying process were controlled to ensure the temporal separation of each subject's viewing and drawing behavior. Following the copying task, subjects completed a control drawing task, after which they produced drawn recall of the weather map they had previously copied. Analysis of the drawings produced and videotaped records of the drawing process indicated that the superior recall of the meteorologists was associated with a qualitatively different approach to the weather map tasks. The meteorologists appeared to have processed the material in terms of high level abstract relations and meteorological generalizations. In contrast, the nonmeteorologists' processing appeared to be derived largely from low level visuo-spatial characteristics of the display. The results were interpreted as evidence of different bases for the construction of a mental representation from the weather map information by the two subject groups.

Situational interest and academic achievement in the active-learning classroom

February 2011


1,338 Reads

The aim of the present study was to investigate how situational interest develops over time and how it is related to academic achievement in an active-learning classroom. Five measures of situational interest were administered at critical points in time to 69 polytechnic students during a one-day, problem-based learning session. Results revealed that situational interest significantly increased after the problem stimulus was presented. Subsequently, situational interest gradually decreased but at the end of the day increased again. Testing a path model relating the situational interest measures showed strong (directional) interrelations. Moreover, situational interest was highly predictive for observed achievement-related classroom behaviors. The latter, in turn, proved to be a significant predictor of academic achievement. Aggregating situational interest over the day led to less accurate predictions of achievement-related classroom behaviors and academic achievement. Implications of these findings for situational interest research are discussed.

Self-to-prototype matching as a strategy for making academic choices. Why high school students do not like math and science

February 2004


971 Reads

The percentage of school students specializing in math and science is particularly low. The current research suggests that this is due to prototypes about math and science being highly dissimilar from self-prototypes students have or want to have of themselves. Going beyond previous studies on self-to-prototype matching, we assumed that students compare their self-views to both a prototypical student liking a certain subject (favourite-subject-prototype) and a prototypical student disapproving of it (least liked subject-prototype). Results show that for humanities (German and English language), favourite-subject-prototypes were judged more positively than least-liked-subject-prototypes, whereas for science (math and physics), least-liked-subject-prototypes were perceived as more positive than favourite-subject-prototypes. As expected, only if a student’s self-prototype was quite clear (high self-clarity) was it used as a standard against which school-subject prototypes were compared with respect to their degree of overlap. Our results showed that the better the match between self and favourite-subject-prototype, the stronger were the subject preferences.

Self-fulfilling prophecies in media-based learning: Content relevance moderates quality expectation effects on academic achievement

December 2010


89 Reads

In the present paper a model of self-fulfilling prophecy effects in media-based learning was developed and tested. The central model assumption was that information about an instructional medium's quality affects students' academic achievement depending on the instructional content's relevance to the student. Experiment 1 (N = 100) demonstrated higher achievement in response to positive compared to negative information, but not the predicted moderating effect of content relevance. Using a revised relevance manipulation, Experiment 2 (N = 199) identified the following moderating function of content relevance: Under moderate relevance positive information led to higher achievement, under high relevance negative information resulted in higher achievement. No differences appeared under low relevance. Path analyses revealed students' cognitive effort as significant mediator for these effects.

Academic delay of gratification and children's study time allocation as a function of proximity to consequential academic goals

February 2011


304 Reads

Students (N = 302) in Chinese elementary schools were assessed regarding their academic delay of gratification (ADOG) and reported the time they devoted to non-school study and playtime during an extended interval prior to taking a high-stakes final exam. Students high compared those low in ADOG were more likely to spend time studying and less time playing several weeks prior to the exam. Growth curve analyses verified, however, that this difference diminished as a function of the temporal proximity to the exam, and that the group differences were non-existent just before the exam. Associations between ADOG and students' academic motivation and use of learning strategies replicated those obtained previously with adults in the USA. Results contribute to the general literatures on volition, homework and the dynamics of conflicting goals and action tendencies.

Dimensional comparisons in subject-specific academic self-concepts and achievements: A quasi-experimental approach

December 2005


43 Reads

Even though marks in different subjects are substantially correlated, the corresponding self-concepts often display a very weak association. The “Internal–External Frame of Reference Model” explains this finding: social comparisons (resulting in positive correlations of the self-concepts) and dimensional comparisons (resulting in negative correlations of the self-concepts) are confounded. A rarely tested hypothesis derived from the I/E-model is that the dimensional comparison process only affects the self-concepts, if the students achieve differently in the corresponding subjects. In a sample of N = 1508 students (grades 7 and 8), low correlations of the self-concepts for four subjects could be observed only in students displaying different school-marks in the corresponding subjects. In students who have the same marks in different subjects, the self-concepts showed a substantial positive correlation.

Fig. 1. Mean deviation from the 50 per cent examination score as a function of verbal intelligence group by level of cognitive regulatory activities (N 517).  
Fig. 2. Mean deviation from the 50 per cent examination score as a function of numerical intelligence group by level of cognitive regulatory activities (N 517).  
Fig. 3. Mean deviation from the 50 per cent examination score as a function of diagrammatic intelligence group by level of cognitive regulatory activities (N 517).  
Mean examination scores (standard deviations in parentheses) by level of cognitive regulatory activities and by type and level of intelligence (N 517)
The additive effect of regulatory activities on top of intelligence in relation to academic performance in higher education

February 1999


130 Reads

This study investigated the additive, beneficial effect of regulatory activities on top of verbal, numerical, and diagrammatic intelligence in the prediction of academic performance. About 500 freshmen of different study domains participated in this research. The findings supported both the mixed and the independency model of the relationship between intelligence and metacognitive skills. Analyses of variance revealed significant main effects of verbal and numerical (crystallised) intelligence, and of cognitive regulatory activities on academic performance. The effect of diagrammatic (fluid) intelligence on academic performance was just short of being significant. Implications for further research and for educational practice are being discussed.

The development of achievement strategies and academic skills during the first year of primary school

October 2002


245 Reads

The aim of the study was to investigate whether children's achievement strategies would predict the development of their reading and mathematical skills during the first school year, or whether it is rather these skills that predict the changes in their achievement strategies. One-hundred and five 6- to 7-year-old children were examined three times during their first year of primary school: in each measurement, their self-reported achievement strategies were assessed, and their reading and mathematical skills were rated by their classroom teacher. Their overall cognitive competence was also measured before entry into school. The results showed that the use of maladaptive achievement strategies hampered the children's subsequent improvement in reading and mathematical skills. By contrast, children's skills did not have any impact on their subsequent use of achievement strategies.

Table 1 The distribution of participants through the learning styles
Table 2 The percentage distribution of participants through the Nine-Region Learning Styles
Fig. 3. The learning style distribution of the three sample groups. (a) Learning style distribution of group 1, (b) learning style distribution of group 2, and (c) learning style distribution of group 3. 
Table 3 The average raw scale scores and range values of the three groups
Table 5 Pearson correlations between learning phases and combined scores
Learning styles of design students and the relationship of academic performance and gender in design education

June 2007


3,808 Reads

The study focuses on design education using Experiential Learning Theory (ELT) and explores the effects of learning styles and gender on the performance scores of freshman design students in three successive academic years. Findings indicate that the distribution of design students through learning style type preference was more concentrated in assimilating and converging groups. Further study indicates that the first and third groups were found to be more balancing while the second group being mostly a southerner. The learning style preferences did not significantly differ by gender in all three groups. Although there is no consistency in all three groups, results indicate that the performance scores of males were higher in technology-based courses, whereas scores of females were higher in artistic and fundamental courses and in the semester academic performance scores (GPA). Also, it was found that the performance scores of converging and diverging students differed significantly in favor of converging students only in design courses. In design education, instructors should provide a strategy that is relevant to the style of each learner in design studio process.

Relations between the development of future time perspective in three life domains, investment in learning, and academic achievement

June 2011


275 Reads

Relations between the development of future time perspectives in three life domains (i.e., school and professional career, social relations, and leisure time) and changes in students’ investment in learning and academic achievement were examined in this study. Participants were 584 students in the first and 584 in the second year of the lower vocational education in the Netherlands who completed self-report measures at four different time points during a school year. The data were analysed using multivariate latent growth curve modelling. Future time perspective influenced the development of academic achievement via the growth of investment in learning. Long-term time perspective in leisure time had a negative effect on the development of investment in learning, whereas the effects of the long-term time perspective in school and professional career, as well as in social relations, were positive.Research highlights► Relations between development in different time perspectives and changes in students' learning investment and academic achievement were examined in this study. ►Participants were 584 students in the first and 584 in the second year of the lowest level of secondary school in the Netherlands. ►The data were analysed using multivariate latent growth curve modelling. ►Future time perspectives can partly explain the well-known decrease in students' motivation after starting secondary school. ► Development in long-term time perspective on leisure time had a negative effect on development in learning investment, while the effects of the longterm time perspective on school and professional career and social relations were positive.

University teachers' experiences of academic leadership and their approaches to teaching

April 2007


436 Reads

The study examined associations between university teachers' experiences of academic leadership, their perceptions of a specific academic context and their approaches to teaching in a particular subject that was taught in that context. The sample consisted of 439 lecturers in Australian universities in four fields of study. Lecturers completed surveys of their experiences and approaches. Structural equation models derived from student approaches to learning theory were developed and tested. The experience of leadership for teaching and a collegial commitment to enhancing student learning were found to be associated with the experience of the context of teaching and to lecturers' approaches to teaching.

A phenomenographic study of academics' conceptions of science learning and teaching

December 1994


225 Reads

This paper outlines the qualitative research method and results of an investigation of the conceptions of teaching and learning held by teachers of first year university chemistry and physics courses. In both cases a limited number of qualitatively different categories of description were identified (6 and 5 respectively) ranging from information transmission to facilitating conceptual change in teaching and knowledge accumulation to conceptual change in learning. An analysis of the referential and structural components of the conceptions is used to develop the internal structure of the conceptions. Finally, the relation of the results to conceptual change programs is discussed.

A Review and Reconceptualization of the Research into Academics' Conception of Teaching

September 1997


493 Reads

Articles about the conceptions of teaching of university academics are reviewed. There is found to be a high level of correspondence between largely independent studies reported in 13 articles. An attempt to synthesise the body of research places conceptions under two broad orientations characterised as teacher-centred/content-oriented and student-centred/learning-oriented. Each orientation has two associated conceptions. A transitionary category, labelled student-teacher interaction, links the two orientations. The five conceptions beneath the orientations are visualised as well-defined points within a continuum, and there is some evidence of lecturers shifting beliefs across the spectrum over time. Teaching conceptions have been shown to be related to measures of the quality of student learning, so are modelled as influencing teaching approaches which in turn effect student learning approaches and learning outcomes. It is argued that measures to enhance the quality of teaching should take account of teaching conceptions if they are to be effective, as teaching approaches are strongly influenced by the underlying beliefs of the teacher.

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