Don't bother me: Learning as a function of task autonomy and cognitive demands
until further notice
Number of pages
SourceHuman Resource Development International, 15, 1, (2012), pp. 5-23
Article / Letter to editor
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SW OZ BSI AO
SW OZ BSI SCP
Human Resource Development International
SubjectBehaviour Change and Well-being; Work, Health and Performance
This study examined why various levels of task autonomy differ in their learning outcomes. We conducted an experimental study in which 119 undergraduate students learned a computer task. During the learning phase, (no versus moderate versus full) autonomy and (cognitively undemanding versus cognitively demanding interruptions) demands were manipulated in a 3 x 2 between-participants design. The results showed that in the no and full autonomy conditions, receiving cognitively demanding interruptions decreased learning outcomes compared to receiving cognitively undemanding interruptions. However, having moderate autonomy resulted in equally positive learning outcomes in both cognitive demands conditions. Thus, having autonomy while learning a new task is essential; however, having too much autonomy may lead to adverse learning outcomes when cognitive demands are high.
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