Cognitive Structure Changes in Astronomy Students using Advance Organizers Matched with Cognitive Style
"The most notable emission from reported studies of the use of advance organizers is any attempt to detect changes in cognitive structure following the advance organizer but prior to the learning task. Onepurposeofthisstudyistodeterminewhethersuchchanges can be detected using a word association test as a measure of cognitive structure. There are indications in the literature (Shavelson, 1974; Preece, 1976a) that the word association technique is a valid and sensitivemeansformeasuringsuchchanges. Useofthistestrepresents a novel atteirpt at charting the progress of meaningful verbal learning.
Since students having different cognitive styles tend to approach a given learning task in different ways it is clear that an advance organizer which matches a particular student's cognitive style may not match another student's. A second purpose of the study is to determine whether matching the nature of an advance organizer to the cognitive style of the student enhances the effects of the former.
It was demonstrated by Field (1971) that high school and university students specializing in science tend to have cognitive styles which differmarkedlyfromstudentswithotherinterests. Thisimplies
that if one wants to find a group of students in which as wide a variety of cognitive styles as possible is represented one should lock for students with a wide variety of academic interests. Selection of subjects for this experiment was made accordingly.
Choice of a group of non-science undergraduates taking a general course in astronomy to meet science requirements of their degree programs was quite deliberate on two accounts. Firstly, a wide variety of cognitive styles was desired. Secondly,whileastronomicalconcepts of a general nature are presumably established in cognitive structures from early childhood, students who have not displayed special interest in science would not be expected to be very knowledgeable of specific factsandprinciples. AccordingtoAusubel'stheorythiscombination of general concepts already established in cognitive structure and the lack of knowledge of specific facts and principles constitutes anidealsituationformeaningfullearningtooccur. Giventhis information the investigator sought answers to the following questions:
1. Does the use of an advance organizer result in changes in students' cognitive structures as measured by a word association test prepared by the investigator and taken immediately after study of the advance organizer?
2. Does matching the nature of an advance organizer with the students' cognitive style result in greater learning in science than when the advance organizer is not matched with students' cognitive style?"
Lucas, K. B. (1978). Cognitive Structure Changes in Astronomy Students using Advance Organizers Matched with Cognitive Style. PhD. Dissertation. Indiana University
Type of Publication
Lucas, Keith B.
Department of Science Education
Number of Pages
Nation(s) of Study
United States of America