BOX3.6 Preparation for Learning with Understanding

Three different groups of college students received different kinds of instruction about schema theory and memory and then completed a transfer task where they were asked to make detailed predictions about the results of a new memory study. Students in Group 1 read and summarized a text on the topic of schema theory and then listened to a lecture designed to help them organize their knowledge and learn with understanding. Group 2 did not read the text but, instead, actively compared simplified data sets from schema experiments on memory and then heard the same lecture as Group 1. Group 3 spent twice as much time as Group 2 working with the data sets but did not receive the organizing lecture. On the transfer test, students in Group 2 performed much better than those in Groups 1 and 3. Their work with the data sets set the stage for them to learn from the lecture. The lecture was necessary, as indicated by the poor performance of Group 3.

SOURCE: From Schwortz et al. (1999).

in “deliberate practice” that includes active monitoring of one’s learning experiences (Ericsson et al., 1993). Monitoring involves attempts to seek and use feedback about one’s progress. Feedback has long been identified as important for successful learning (see, e.g., Thorndike, 1913), but it should not be regarded as a unidimensional concept. For example, feedback that signals progress in memorizing facts and formulas is different from feedback that signals the state of the students’ understanding (Chi et al., 1989, 1994). In addition, as noted in Chapter 2, students need feedback about the degree to which they know when, where, and how to use the knowledge they are learning. By inadvertently relying on clues—such as which chapter in a text

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