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Learning from text


Ferstl,  Evelyn C.
MPI of Cognitive Neuroscience (Leipzig, -2003), The Prior Institutes, MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society;

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Ferstl, E. C. (2001). Learning from text. In N. J. Smelser, & P. B. Baltes (Eds.), International encyclopedia of the social and behavioral sciences (pp. 8605-8609). Amsterdam: Elsevier. doi:10.1016/B0-08-043076-7/01478-9.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0003-22F4-3
Because of its importance for education, the concept ‘learning from text’ has received considerable attention in cognitive psychology. In contrast to learning of text, corresponding to memorization of the text information, learning from text is defined as the change of knowledge structures brought about by successfully establishing a situation model during comprehension. The empirical assessment of these changes requires knowledge assessment paradigms or comprehension tasks involving the integration of the text information with background knowledge, as well as the utilization of the resulting representation in novel situations. The factors known to influence learning from text can be divided into three main categories: properties of the text (e.g., readability, coherence, macrostructure), learner characteristics (e.g., age, reading skill, expertise), and, most importantly, those that induce a deep or meaningful comprehension and retention process. This last category includes attempts to increase the learners' interest and motivation or the addition of extratextual information, such as adjunct questions, advance organizers, or pictorial and graphical illustrations. All of these factors can be implemented in teaching programmes to improve classroom instruction. Studies have shown, however, that facilitating learning from text requires individually tailoring the text materials and teaching strategies to the learner's needs.