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The Impact of Sequencing and Prior Knowledge on Learning Mathematics through Spreadsheet Applications

Tracey Clarke, Paul Ayres and John Sweller
Educational Technology Research and Development
Vol. 53, No. 3 (2005), pp. 15-24
Published by: Springer
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/30220438
Page Count: 10
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The Impact of Sequencing and Prior Knowledge on Learning Mathematics through Spreadsheet Applications
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Abstract

According to cognitive load theory, instruction needs to be designed in a manner that facilitates the acquisition of knowledge in long-term memory while reducing unnecessary demands on working memory. When technology is used to deliver instruction, the sequence in which students learn to use the technology and learn the relevant subject matter may have cognitive load implications, and should interact with their prior knowledge levels. An experiment, using spreadsheets to assist student learning of mathematics, indicated that for students with little knowledge of spreadsheets, sequential instruction on spreadsheets followed by mathematics instruction was superior to a concurrent presentation. The reverse was found for students with more knowledge of spreadsheets. These results are explained in terms of cognitive load theory.

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