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Vicarious learning from dialogue and discourse: A controlled comparison

RICHARD COX, JEAN MCKENDREE, RICHARD TOBIN, JOHN LEE and TERRY MAYES
Instructional Science
Vol. 27, No. 6 (NOVEMBER 1999), pp. 431-458
Published by: Springer
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/23371415
Page Count: 28
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Vicarious learning from dialogue and discourse: A controlled comparison
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Abstract

This study examined learning in the domain of sentence parsing and syntax tree-diagram construction. The aim of the study was to assess whether subjects could learn 'vicariously' from recordings of interactions between a previous student and a tutor. Four intervention conditions and a control condition were compared. Subjects in a 'dialogue' group (DL) read printed tutorial notes and subsequently 'vicariously' viewed dynamic (animated) recordings of tree diagrams being constructed by a previous student in the presence of a tutor. The discourse (DI) condition was similar except that subjects viewed recordings of tree diagrams being constructed by a tutor who concurrently verbalised instructional discourse. In a third condition (DO), subjects viewed tree-diagram construction animation clips which were not annotated with either dialogue or discourse. In a linear text (LT) condition, subjects were given only printed tutorial notes. A control (CO) condition involved pre and post testing without any intervention. Results indicated that the dialogue condition was as effective as the discourse condition. This provides support for contention that 're-usable' dialogue is a useful resource for the vicarious learner. Another finding was that un-annotated animated diagrams were surprisingly effective. Several reasons for their effectiveness are suggested from the literature on instructional animations.

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