Differential-associative processing or example elaboration: Which strategy is best for learning the definitions of related and unrelated concepts? release_ljfu6m77ujeczo7q52l7vusrfe

by Brenda Hannon

Published in International Journal of Educational Research.

2012   Volume 22, Issue 5, p299-310


Definitions of related concepts (e.g., genotype-phenotype) are prevalent in introductory classes. Consequently, it is important that educators and students know which strategy(s) work best for learning them. This study showed that a new comparative elaboration strategy, called differential-associative processing, was better for learning definitions of related concepts than was an integrative elaborative strategy, called example elaboration. This outcome occurred even though example elaboration was administered in a naturalistic way (Experiment 1) and students spent more time in the example elaboration condition learning (Experiments 1, 2, 3), and generating pieces of information about the concepts (Experiments 2 and 3). Further, with unrelated concepts (morpheme-fluid intelligence), performance was similar regardless if students used differential-associative processing or example elaboration (Experiment 3). Taken as a whole, these results suggest that differential-associative processing is better than example elaboration for learning definitions of related concepts and is as good as example elaboration for learning definitions of unrelated concepts.
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