• Anxiety and learning / response behaviour in the context of intellectual problem solving by young children

      Howarth, Leslie Douglas.; Department of Graduate and Undergraduate Studies in Education (Brock University, 1983-07-09)
      Twenty-eight grade four students were ca.tegorized as either high or low anxious subjects as per Gillis' Child Anxiety Scale (a self-report general measure). In determining impulsivity in their response tendencies, via Kagan's Ma.tching Familiar Figures Test, a significant difference between the two groups was not found to exist. Training procedures (verbal labelling plus rehearsal strategies) were introduced in modification of their learning behaviour on a visual sequential memory task. Significantly more reflective memory recall behaviour was noted by both groups as a result. Furthermore, transfer of the reflective quality of this learning strategy produced significantly less impulsive response behaviour for high and low anxious subjects with respect to response latency and for low anxious subjects with respect to response accuracy.
    • Are there transformative indicators for motivation to learn?

      Snelson, Sherry.; Department of Graduate and Undergraduate Studies in Education (Brock University, 1994-07-09)
      Fourteen nursing s tudents enrolled in a community coll ege were chosen by purposeful se lection to be i nterviewed in a qualitative survey. A proposed mode l of Learner Motivation Development was examined . The mode l describes four stages of motivati on development progression across the lifespan: I Survival (infancy to childhood), I I Expl oration (childhood to adolescence), III Identification (pre- adulthood), and IV Reflection ( adulthood ). This r esearch examined the last two stages. The criteria used to categorize the students within the fr amework were bas ed on human development theories as described by Maslow (1954) and Erikson (1950). The concept of critica l thinking proposed by Brookfield (1987) and the ideas of transformative learning expressed by Mezirow (1991) were also incorporated. The researcher' s criteria , antici pated behaviours and characteri stics, were used to ana lyze the students' responses to open-ended questions. The central theme of the research was based on the assumption that motivation to learn is intrinsic and inherent in pre-adult and adult learners. Six pre-adults and two adults met the descriptors set for stage III Identification. Five adults and one pre-adult met the criteria for stage IV Reflection. The impact of life e xperiences and maturation were clearly demonstrated.
    • Continuing education learning preferences and styles of legal clinic lawyers /

      Cameron, Jane.; Department of Graduate and Undergraduate Studies in Education (Brock University, 2006-07-14)
      The purpose of this qualitative research was to study the learning preferences and styles of management lawyers who work in Ontario's legal aid clinics. Data were gathered from two sources and analyzed using the constant comparison method. A preand postconference survey provided the principal data on clinic lawyers' learning preferences. Follow-up interviews were then conducted with 3 purposefully selected survey participants to explore their personal learning styles. Kolb's experiential learning theory provided the theoretical framework for discussing personal learning styles. The findings showed a general consistency among the lawyers to learn by listening to lectures and experts. This preference may suggest a lingering influence from law school training. The lawyers' more informal learning associated with daily practice, however, appeared to be guided by various learning styles. The learning style discussions provided some support for Kolb's model but also confirmed some shortcomings noted by other authors. Educators who design continuing education programs for lawyers may benefit from some insights gained from this exploratory research. This study adds to a limited but growing body of work on the learning preferences and styles of lawyers and suggests new questions for future research.
    • Exploring the events that engage graduate students in transformative learning /

      Mindorff, Deborah.; Department of Graduate and Undergraduate Studies in Education (Brock University, 2000-05-21)
      This research explored the events that engaged graduate students in transformative learning within a graduate program in education. This context was chosen because one objective of a graduate program is to facilitate critical thinking and transformative learning. The question ofhow adult learners perceive and experience learning steered the direction ofthis study. However, the purpose ofthis research was to study critical incidents that led to profound cognitive and affective changes as perceived by the graduate students. Specifically, the questions to be answered were what critical incidents happened to graduate students while in the Master ofEducation program, how were the incidents experienced, and what transformation resulted? The research design evolved over the course of a year and was highly influenced by previous empirical studies and criticisms oftransformative learning theory. The overall design was qualitative and phenomenological. A critical and interpretive approach was made to empirical data collected through a critical incident questionnaire and in-depth interviews. Inductive analysis allowed theory to be built from the data by making comparisons. New questions emerged and attention was given to social context, the passage oftime, and sequence ofevents in order to give meaning and translation ofthe participants' experiences and to build the interpretive narratives. Deductive analysis was also used on the data and a blending ofthe two forms of analysis; this resulted in the development ofa foundational model for transformative learning to be built.The data revealed critical incidents outside ofthe graduate school program that occurred in childhood or adult life prior to graduate school. Since context of individuals' lives had been an important critique of past transformative learning models and studies, this research expanded the original boundaries of this study beyond graduate school to incorporate incidents that occurred outside of graduate school. Critical incidents were categorized into time-related, people-related, and circumstancerelated themes. It was clear that participants were influenced and molded by the stage oftheir life, personal experiences, familial and cultural conditioning, and even historic events. The model developed in this document fiom an overview ofthe fmdings identifies a four-stage process of life difficulty, disintegration, reintegration, and completion that all participants' followed. The blended analysis was revealed from the description ofhow the incidents were experienced by the participants. The final categories were what were the feelings, what was happening, and what was the enviromnent? The resulting transformation was initially only going to consider cognitive and affective changes, however, it was apparent that contextual changes also occurred for all participants, so this category was also included. The model was described with the construction metaphor of a building "foimdation" to illustrate the variety of conditions that are necessary for transformative learning to occur. Since this was an exploratory study, no prior models or processes were used in data analysis, however, it appeared that the model developed from this study incorporated existing models and provided a more encompassing life picture oftransformative learning.
    • Exploring the use of effective learning strategies to increase students' reading comprehension and test taking skills /

      Radojevic, Nancy.; Department of Graduate and Undergraduate Studies in Education (Brock University, 2006-06-01)
      This study examined the effects of providing students with explicit instruction in how to use a repertoire of reading comprehension strategies and test taking skills when reading and responding to three types of questions (direct, inferential, critical). Specifically, the study examined whether providing students with a "model" of how to read and respond to the text and to the comprehension questions improved their reading comprehension relative to providing them with implicit instruction on reading comprehension strategies and test taking skills. Students' reading comprehension and test taking performance scores were compared as a function of instructional condition. Students from 2 grade 8 classes participated in this study. The reading component of the Canadian Achievement Tests, Third Edition (CAT/3) was used to identify students' level of reading comprehension prior to the formal instructional sessions. Students received either explicit instruction, which involved modelling, or implicit instruction, which consisted of review and discussion of the strategies to be used. Comprehension was measured through the administration of formative tests after each instructional session. The formative tests consisted of reading comprehension questions pertaining to a specific form of text (narrative, informational, graphic). In addition, students completed 3 summative tests and a delayed comprehension test which consisted of the alternative version of the CAT/3 standardized reading assessment. These data served as a posttest measure to determine whether students had shown an improvement in their reading comprehension skills as a result of the program delivery. There were significant differences in students' Canadian Achievement Test performance scores prior to the onset of the study. Students in the implicit group attained significantly higher comprehension scores than did students in the explicit group. The results from the program sessions indicated no significant differences in reading comprehension between the implicit and explicit conditions, with the exception of the 6th session involving the reading and interpreting of graphic text. Students in the explicit group performed significantly better when reading and interpreting graphic text than those in the implicit group. No significant differences were evident between the two study conditions across the three summative tests. Upon completion of the study, the results from the Canadian Achievement Test indicated no significant differences in performance between the two study conditions. The findings from this study reveal the effectiveness of providing students with explicit strategy instruction when reading and responding to various forms of text. Modelling the appropriate reading comprehension strategies and test taking skills enabled students to apply the same thought processes to their own independent work. This form of instruction enabled students in the explicit group to improve in their abilities to comprehend and respond to text and therefore should be incorporated as an effective form of classroom teaching.
    • Verbal ability, previous practice and load on short-term memory as determiners of differences in a complex learning task: an experimental study

      Gorham, R. G.; Department of Graduate and Undergraduate Studies in Education (Brock University, 1978-07-09)
      Traditional psychometric theory and practice classify people according to broad ability dimensions but do not examine how these mental processes occur. Hunt and Lansman (1975) proposed a 'distributed memory' model of cognitive processes with emphasis on how to describe individual differences based on the assumption that each individual possesses the same components. It is in the quality of these components ~hat individual differences arise. Carroll (1974) expands Hunt's model to include a production system (after Newell and Simon, 1973) and a response system. He developed a framework of factor analytic (FA) factors for : the purpose of describing how individual differences may arise from them. This scheme is to be used in the analysis of psychometric tes ts . Recent advances in the field of information processing are examined and include. 1) Hunt's development of differences between subjects designated as high or low verbal , 2) Miller's pursuit of the magic number seven, plus or minus two, 3) Ferguson's examination of transfer and abilities and, 4) Brown's discoveries concerning strategy teaching and retardates . In order to examine possible sources of individual differences arising from cognitive tasks, traditional psychometric tests were searched for a suitable perceptual task which could be varied slightly and administered to gauge learning effects produced by controlling independent variables. It also had to be suitable for analysis using Carroll's f ramework . The Coding Task (a symbol substitution test) found i n the Performance Scale of the WISe was chosen. Two experiments were devised to test the following hypotheses. 1) High verbals should be able to complete significantly more items on the Symbol Substitution Task than low verbals (Hunt, Lansman, 1975). 2) Having previous practice on a task, where strategies involved in the task may be identified, increases the amount of output on a similar task (Carroll, 1974). J) There should be a sUbstantial decrease in the amount of output as the load on STM is increased (Miller, 1956) . 4) Repeated measures should produce an increase in output over trials and where individual differences in previously acquired abilities are involved, these should differentiate individuals over trials (Ferguson, 1956). S) Teaching slow learners a rehearsal strategy would improve their learning such that their learning would resemble that of normals on the ,:same task. (Brown, 1974). In the first experiment 60 subjects were d.ivided·into high and low verbal, further divided randomly into a practice group and nonpractice group. Five subjects in each group were assigned randomly to work on a five, seven and nine digit code throughout the experiment. The practice group was given three trials of two minutes each on the practice code (designed to eliminate transfer effects due to symbol similarity) and then three trials of two minutes each on the actual SST task . The nonpractice group was given three trials of two minutes each on the same actual SST task . Results were analyzed using a four-way analysis of variance . In the second experiment 18 slow learners were divided randomly into two groups. one group receiving a planned strategy practioe, the other receiving random practice. Both groups worked on the actual code to be used later in the actual task. Within each group subjects were randomly assigned to work on a five, seven or nine digit code throughout. Both practice and actual tests consisted on three trials of two minutes each. Results were analyzed using a three-way analysis of variance . It was found in t he first experiment that 1) high or low verbal ability by itself did not produce significantly different results. However, when in interaction with the other independent variables, a difference in performance was noted . 2) The previous practice variable was significant over all segments of the experiment. Those who received previo.us practice were able to score significantly higher than those without it. J) Increasing the size of the load on STM severely restricts performance. 4) The effect of repeated trials proved to be beneficial. Generally, gains were made on each successive trial within each group. S) In the second experiment, slow learners who were allowed to practice randomly performed better on the actual task than subjeots who were taught the code by means of a planned strategy. Upon analysis using the Carroll scheme, individual differences were noted in the ability to develop strategies of storing, searching and retrieving items from STM, and in adopting necessary rehearsals for retention in STM. While these strategies may benef it some it was found that for others they may be harmful . Temporal aspects and perceptual speed were also found to be sources of variance within individuals . Generally it was found that the largest single factor i nfluencing learning on this task was the repeated measures . What e~ables gains to be made, varies with individuals . There are environmental factors, specific abilities, strategy development, previous learning, amount of load on STM , perceptual and temporal parameters which influence learning and these have serious implications for educational programs .