Instructional Principles and Hypotheses

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Creating Instructional Principle and Hypothesis Pages

The PSLC is starting to maintain a collection of instructional principle pages. Each instructional principle page should be structured with the following headers:

  1. Brief statement of principle
  2. Description of principle
    1. Operational definition
    2. Examples
  3. Experimental support
    1. Level of support (either low, medium, or high) (See the recent IES practice guide on "Organizing Instruction and Study to Improve Student Learning" for definitions of levels of support.)
    2. Laboratory experiment support
    3. In vivo experiment support
  4. Theoretical rationale (these entries should link to one or more learning processes)
  5. Conditions of application
  6. Caveats, limitations, open issues, or dissenting views
  7. Variations (descendants)
  8. Generalizations (ascendants)
  9. References

If you have a study page, your hypothesis section should make reference to at least one of these instructional principle pages. You should edit your hypothesis section to be sure it points to an instructional principle page. Then you should edit that instructional principle page so that it 1) at least has the structure above (even if all sections aren't filled in) and 2) fill in or edit sections so they are consistent with your views. A template you can copy is provided further below.

We want to keep the number of principles down, at least at the highest level if generalization, so try to reference the most general instructional principle that is appropriate. In addition to facilitating our goal of greater shared vocabulary and unification, doing so will also make it so you have less editing work to do! By pointing to more general instructional principles, others will be contributing to structuring and filling in that page in addition to you. You may also point to (from your hypothesis section) more specific instructional principle pages relevant to your study.

Be sure that the *Examples* and *Experimental Support* sections of the instructional principle page you point to also points back to your study page.

Please also add references to the literature outside of PSLC to the *Reference* section of instructional principles pages you edit. You might simply copy these from your study page's reference section and/or papers your write. By doing so, you can help others (and others can help you) identify relevant research in the field.

List of Instructional Principles and Hypotheses

From Category:Independent Variables

Cross-cutting all 3 clusters

Coordinative Learning

Interactive Communication

Refinement and Fluency


Assistance Availability Fading Implicit instruction Instructional method Scaffolding


You can copy the following into an instructional principle page you want to edit and then insert existing text into appropriate sections and add text in other sections.

==Brief statement of principle==
==Description of principle==
===Operational definition===
==Experimental support==
===Laboratory experiment support===
===In vivo experiment support===
==Theoretical rationale== 
(These entries should link to one or more [[:Category:Learning Processes|learning processes]].)
==Conditions of application==
==Caveats, limitations, open issues, or dissenting views==
==Variations (descendants)==
==Generalizations (ascendants)==

A (temporary!) note on editing instructional principles and hypotheses pages

When you edit one of the existing "instructional principle" or "independent variable" pages listed above, note that many of the current (as of October, 2007) pages describe an instructional method and need to be appropriately modified to describe an instructional principle. An instructional principle entry should state a hypothesis about how a target instructional method is better than some other baseline or control method. For example, Mayer's multimedia principle states that using diagrams in text (one instructional method) leads to better learning than text along (another instructional method) under certain circumstances.

Instructional principles are like (or may fill) the *hypothesis* section of study pages, though the hypothesis of a study may be more study or domain specific whereas the associated instructional principle will be study-neutral and likely more domain general. The current (as of October, 2007) instructional method pages are like (or may fill) the *independent variables* section of the study pages.

Perhaps we need both types of pages (instructional principles and instructional methods), but on other hand, this may lead to just too many pages.

Learning Processes

Here's a (probably incomplete) list of learning processes with entries in the glossary. These should be used in the "theoretical rationale" section of instructional principles pages.

Co-training, Cognitive headroom, Integration, Refinement, Sense making, self-explanation

A potentially different list of learning processes can be found at Category:Learning Processes.