Explanatory Models in the Processing of Science Text: The Role of Prior Knowledge Activation Through Small-Group Discussion

Henk G. Schmidt, Maurice L. De Volder, Willem S. De Grave, Jos H.C. Moust, Vimla Patel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

119 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Two experiments assessed effects of activation of prior knowledge through small-group discussion. Subjects were given a description of natural phenomena and were asked to elaborate on possible explanations for them. In Experiment 1, small groups of subjects were presented with a problem describing the behavior of a blood cell in pure water and in a salt solution. No additional text was studied. The experimental subjects produced more than twice as many propositions about osmosis (i.e. the biological process explaining the blood cell's behavior) as a control group produced. Experiment 2 investigated effects of problem analysis on subsequent text processing for subjects with imprecise prior knowledge (novices) and subjects with precise knowledge (experts). Recall of the text showed considerable facilitative effects of problem analysis. Results are explained in terms of faster accessibility of prior knowledge and better integration of new information into explanatory models that may exist before, or are actively constructed during, problem analysis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)610-619
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Educational Psychology
Volume81
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 1989
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

group discussion
activation
small group
Blood Cells
science
Osmosis
knowledge
Biological Phenomena
experiment
text processing
Salts
expert knowledge
Control Groups
Water
water
Group

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology

Cite this

Explanatory Models in the Processing of Science Text : The Role of Prior Knowledge Activation Through Small-Group Discussion. / Schmidt, Henk G.; De Volder, Maurice L.; De Grave, Willem S.; Moust, Jos H.C.; Patel, Vimla.

In: Journal of Educational Psychology, Vol. 81, No. 4, 01.01.1989, p. 610-619.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Schmidt, Henk G. ; De Volder, Maurice L. ; De Grave, Willem S. ; Moust, Jos H.C. ; Patel, Vimla. / Explanatory Models in the Processing of Science Text : The Role of Prior Knowledge Activation Through Small-Group Discussion. In: Journal of Educational Psychology. 1989 ; Vol. 81, No. 4. pp. 610-619.
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