Selecting Learning Tasks: Effects of Adaptation and Shared Control on efficiency and task involvement

Gemma Corbalan, Liesbeth Kester, Jeroen Van Merriënboer

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    Abstract

    Complex skill acquisition by performing authentic learning tasks is constrained by limited working memory capacity (Baddeley, 1992). To prevent cognitive overload, task difficulty and support of each newly selected learning task can be adapted to the learner’s competence level and perceived task load, either by some external agent, the learner herself, or both. Health sciences students (N = 55) participated in a study using a 2x2 factorial design with the factors adaptation (present or absent) and control over task selection (program control or shared control). As hypothesized, adaptation led to more efficient learning; that is, higher learning outcomes combined with less effort invested in performing the learning tasks. Shared control over task selection led to higher task involvement, that is, higher learning outcomes combined with more effort directly invested in learning. Adaptation also produced greater task involvement.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)733-756
    Number of pages24
    JournalContemporary Educational Psychology
    Volume33
    Issue number4
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2008

    Keywords

    • Adaptive task selection
    • Personalization
    • Cognitive load
    • Learner control

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