Coordinative Learning

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The PSLC Coordinative Learning cluster

Abstract

The studies in the Coordinative Learning cluster tend to focus on varying the types of information available to learning or on the instructional methods that they employ. In particular, the studies focus on the impact of having learners coordinate two or more types. Given that the student has two sources/methods available, the factors that might impact learning are:

  • What is the relationship between the content in the two sources or the content generated by the two methods? Our hypothesis is that robust learning occurs whenever a knowledge component is difficult to understand or absent in one, is should be present and easy to understand in the other.
  • When and how does the student coordinate between the two sources or methods? Our hypothesis is that students should be encouraged to compare the two, perhaps by putting them close together in space or time. This is a form of engagement.

At the micro-level, the overall hypothesis is that robust learning occurs when the learning event space has target paths whose sense-making difficulties complement each other (as expressed in the first bullet above) and the students make path choices that take advantage of these complementary paths (as in the second bullet, above). This hypothesis is just a specialization of the general PSLC hypothesis to this cluster.

Glossary

Forthcoming, but will probably include:

  • Sources
  • Co-training
  • Complementary

Research question

How can instructional activities that involve two sources of instructional information increase robust learning? Independent variables

  • The content of the sources,
  • and the instructional activities designed to engage students in using both of them.

Dependent variables

Measures of normal and robust learning.

Hypotheses

When students are given sources whose sense-making difficulties are complementary, and they are engaged in coordinating the sources, then their learning will be more robust than it would otherwise be.

Explanation

There are both sense-making and foundational skill-building explanations. From the sense-making perspective, if the sources/methods yield complementary content and the student is engaged in coordinating them, then the student is more likely to successfully understand the instruction because whenever student fails to understand one of the sources/methods, then the student is likely to understand the other. From a foundational skill-building perspective, attending to both sources/methods simultaneously associates features from both with the learned knowledge components, thus increasing feature validity and hence robust learning.

Descendents

  • Visual-verbal learning in geometry (Aleven & Butcher)
  • Handwriting in algebra learning (Anthony, Yang & Koedinger)
  • Note-taking technologies (Bauer & Koedinger)
  • Knowledge component construction vs. recall (Booth, Siegler, Koedinger & Rittle-Johnson)
  • Adding diagrams of acid-base solutions (Davenport, Klahr & Koedinger)
  • Co-training of Chinese characters (Liu, Perfetti, Mitchell & Wang)
  • Personalization and example studying in chemistry (McLaren, Koedinger & Yaron)
  • Implicit vs. explicit instruction on word meanings (Juffs & Eskenazi) [Was in Fluency]
  • Video vs. audio-only training of pronunciation (Liu, Perfetti & Wang) [Was in Fluency]
  • Visual enhancement of Chinese tone learning (Wang, Lui and Perfetti) [Was in Fluency]

Annotated Bibliography

Forthcoming