How to use preconceptions? The Contact Strategy dismantled
Inst superior psicologia aplicada
SourceEuropean Journal of Psychology of Education, 10, 3, (1995), pp. 243-259
Article / Letter to editor
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SW OZ BSI OE
European Journal of Psychology of Education
The effects of the contact strategy (a computer-assisted instructional strategy aimed at conceptual change in text processing) were investigated by dismantling the strategy. An experiment with 86 Ss (5th/6th-graders) was conducted in which the number of instructional steps was cumulatively varied from 0 steps (no activation) over 1 step (search for old idea) and 3 steps (1. search for old idea; 2. compare and contrast with new information; 3. formulate new idea) to all 5 contact steps (1. search for old idea; 2. compare and contrast with new information; 3. formulate new idea; 4. apply new idea; 5. evaluate new idea). A design with 2 between-subjects factors (instructional strategy and students familiarity with the central concepts from the 7 instructional texts used) and 2 within-subjects factors (type of learning performance test item and time of testing) was used. Dependent variables concerned quality of final conceptions and learning performance. Results indicated that the complete contact strategy was the most effective variant. It seemed to be the case, however, that students mainly focused their attention on the central concepts from the texts. In our view, instructional strategies to foster conceptual change should both support knowledge restructuring processes and offer a solution for this problem of selective attention.
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