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Effects of Prior Knowledge Activation Modes and Text Structure on Nonscience Majors' Comprehension of Physics

Donna E. Alvermann and Cynthia R. Hynd
The Journal of Educational Research
Vol. 83, No. 2 (Nov. - Dec., 1989), pp. 97-102
Published by: Taylor & Francis, Ltd.
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/27540375
Page Count: 6
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Effects of Prior Knowledge Activation Modes and Text Structure on Nonscience Majors' Comprehension of Physics
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Abstract

Our purpose in this study was to investigate a pragmatic, low-cost way to enhance student learning of complex science concepts without totally revamping texts or methods of instruction. Undergraduate nonscience majors (N = 62) with known naive conceptions about projectile motion were randomly assigned to one of six groups formed from three levels of a prior knowledge activation activity and two levels of text. The results of a multivariate analysis of variance showed that activating competent readers' naive conceptions about a complex science concept is not as effective a means for dispelling inaccurate information as is the practice of activating their naive conceptions and then explicitly directing them to read and attend to ideas that might differ from their own. This result and the no difference found for refutation text are discussed within the context of earlier work and Kintsch's (1980) observation that incongruity leads to new learning.

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