Journal of Educational Psychology

  • Past as prologue: Educational psychology’s legacy and progeny. 20170323
    On the occasion of the 125th anniversary of the American Psychological Association, the legacies and progenies of the discipline of educational psychology are explored. To capture those legacies, transformational and influential contributions by educational psychologists to schools and society are described as key themes. Those themes entail: the “psychologizing” of education, engagement in interdisciplinary and cross-disciplinary inquiry, a focus on learning as a core construct, an investment in measurement and an appreciation of human variability, and a search for evidence-based approaches and practices that work. To project forward, those same thematic areas are revisited 25 years from now as the means of speculating on educational psychology’s future contributions to schools and society. In both the case of the legacies and progenies, potential difficulties or particular challenges are also considered. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2018 APA, all rights reserved)
  • Educational psychology: A future retrospective. 20180205
    In my response to Alexander’s (2018) paper marking the 125th anniversary of the American Psychological Association and the field of educational psychology, I have taken the perspective of a member of our discipline from some time in the future who is contributing to a larger work looking back at the history and development of our field (thus, a “future retrospective”). As this “future author,” I focus on Alexander’s (2018) article and selected developments in our field and more broadly since 2018. Two of the five thematic areas of influence that had established an enduring legacy for the field identified by Alexander are the primary focus: (a) interdisciplinary and cross-disciplinary inquiry and (b) evidence-based practice (EBP). The concepts of theoretical integration and theoretical integrationists are discussed in relation to these themes. Early barriers to interdisciplinary approaches, including paradigm wars and a proliferation of false dichotomies, are noted. The emergence of complexity sciences and a complex systems framework for understanding learning and development is discussed, leading to deeper understanding of the unique social and historical context that shaped and informed our work in the second decade of the 21st-century, as well as the multifaceted context we work within today. Given the interwoven nature of the five thematic areas identified by Alexander, however, aspects of the other thematic areas and Alexander’s thoughts on the future of educational psychology are also encountered. I concur with Alexander in hoping that her paper and the responses to it generate discussion. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2018 APA, all rights reserved)
  • Educational psychology’s past and future contributions to the science of learning, science of instruction, and science of assessment. 20170313
    Patricia Alexander (2018) provides a thought-provoking analysis of the past and future of educational psychology. Based on the themes in Alexander’s paper, the present paper explores the past and future of educational psychology’s contributions to: (a) the science of learning, corresponding to Alexander’s theme of “a focus on learning as a core construct”; (b) the science of instruction, corresponding to Alexander’s theme of “a search for evidence-based approaches and practices that work”; and (c) the science of assessment, corresponding to Alexander’s theme of “an investment in measurement and an appreciation of human variability.” Educational psychology remains poised to make continued contributions to theory and practice. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2018 APA, all rights reserved)
  • Does writing system influence the associations between phonological awareness, morphological awareness, and reading? A meta-analysis. 20170612
    Differences in how writing systems represent language raise important questions about the extent to which the role of linguistic skills such as phonological awareness (PA) and morphological awareness (MA) in reading is universal. In this meta-analysis, the authors examined the relationship between PA, MA, and reading (accuracy, fluency, and comprehension) in 2 languages (English and Chinese) representing different writing systems (alphabetic and logographic). A random-effects model analysis of data from 64 studies with native speakers of each language revealed significant correlations between PA, MA, and all reading outcomes in both languages. The correlations remained significant even after controlling for each other’s effect on reading. However, PA was a stronger correlate of reading in English than in Chinese. MA was as good a correlate of reading in English as in Chinese (except for comprehension, where it was better). In addition, complex PA tasks in English and production/compounding MA tasks in Chinese produced significantly larger correlations with reading accuracy. Taken together, the findings of this meta-analysis suggest that PA and MA are significant correlates of reading, but their role is influenced by the writing system, the type of reading outcome, and the type of task used to operationalize PA and MA. The implications of these findings are discussed. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2018 APA, all rights reserved)
  • Testing prepares students to learn better: The forward effect of testing in category learning. 20170525
    The forward effect of testing occurs when testing on previously studied information facilitates subsequent learning. The present research investigated whether interim testing on initially studied materials enhances the learning of new materials in category learning and examined the metacognitive judgments of such learning. Across the 4 experiments, participants learned the painting styles of various artists, which were divided into 2 separate sections (Sections A and B). They were given an interim test or not on the studied paintings of Section A before moving on to study the paintings of different artists in Section B, and then were given a final test on Section B where participants had to transfer what they had previously learned to new exemplars of the studied artists in Section B. In all experiments, transfer performance on Section B was greater when the participants were given an interim test versus no test. The beneficial effect of interim testing was obtained when the final test was presented in cued-recall (Experiments 1 and 2) and multiple-choice (Experiments 3 and 4) formats. Experiments 3 and 4 also indicated that the forward effect of testing was not due to re-exposure to previously studied items but the testing itself. However, the metacognitive measures provided by the participants did not reflect their actual performance, suggesting that the participants were unaware about the beneficial effects of interim testing. Interim testing appears to prepare students to learn better, facilitating not only learning of specific instances but also generalization of that learning. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2018 APA, all rights reserved)
  • Anthropomorphism in decorative pictures: Benefit or harm for learning? 20170427
    When people attribute human characteristics to nonhuman objects they are amenable to anthropomorphism. For example, human faces or the insertion of personalized labels are found to trigger anthropomorphism. Two studies examine the effects of these features when included in decorative pictures in multimedia learning materials. In a first experiment, 81 university students were randomly assigned to 1 cell of a 2 (human faces vs. no faces in pictures) × 2 (personalized vs. nonpersonalized labels of pictures) between-subjects, factorial design. In addition to learning performance, cognitive, motivational, and emotional impacts of anthropomorphism are examined. Results show that both human faces and anthropomorphic labels were able to increase the learning performance on cognitive assessments. However, only human faces were able to influence motivational and emotional ratings significantly. In a second experiment, 108 secondary school students were randomly assigned to 3 groups (anthropomorphized pictures, nonanthropomorphized pictures, and no pictures) in order to evaluate possible advantages of anthropomorphism in decorative pictures in learning materials. Results show again that anthropomorphized pictures are better for learning than nonanthropomorphized pictures and also better than a control group. Results are discussed in the light of a debate on the inclusion or exclusion of decorative pictures. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2018 APA, all rights reserved)
  • How affective charge and text–picture connectedness moderate the impact of decorative pictures on multimedia learning. 20170605
    Decorative pictures, which make a learning text aesthetically appealing rather than provide information, have been predominantly found to impair learning by an increase of learning-irrelevant cognitive processes. Recent research, however, indicates that this effect is moderated by various factors. On the basis of cognitive–affective theories and studies, the affective charge and the degree of text–picture connectedness (i.e., the semantic relation of text and pictures) of decorative pictures reveal possible boundary conditions. To examine these design features and compare them with a group without pictures, 3 experiments (N1 = 108; N2 = 86; N3 = 162) with secondary school (Experiments 1 and 3) or university (Experiment 2) students were conducted. For this, decorative pictures consistent with those in instructional texts about South Korea (Experiments 1 and 2) or the human body (Experiment 3), were tested in a 2 (positively vs. negatively charged) × 2 (weakly vs. strongly connected to the text) between-subjects design with an additional control group. Learning performance, affective responses, and cognitive processes were measured. Results show that students with either positive or strongly connected pictures outperformed students with negative or weakly connected pictures. In comparison with the control group, strongly connected positive pictures enhanced learning and weakly connected negative pictures impaired learning. Although negative pictures were shown to increase task-irrelevant thoughts and extraneous cognitive load, weakly connected pictures increased the perception of intrinsic cognitive load. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2018 APA, all rights reserved)
  • Animated pedagogical agents as aids in multimedia learning: Effects on eye-fixations during learning and learning outcomes. 20170817
    The goal of the present study is to determine how to incorporate social cues such as gesturing in animated pedagogical agents (PAs) for online multimedia lessons in ways that promote student learning. In 3 experiments, college students learned about synaptic transmission from a multimedia narrated presentation while their eye movements were tracked and subsequently took learning outcome tests. In Experiments 1 and 2, students who had a gesturing PA added to the screen performed significantly better on learning outcome tests of transfer (ds = 0.77 and 0.80) and retention (ds = 1.16 and 1.00) and spent more time attending to target material based on eye-tracking measures including fixation time (ds = 1.53 and 2.27) and number of fixations (ds = 1.54 and 1.70). In Experiments 2 and 3, students who learned with a gesturing PA outperformed those who learned with a static PA on transfer (ds = 0.72 and 1.02), retention (ds = 0.96 and 0.93), fixation time (ds = 2.07 and 1.82), and number of fixations (ds = 1.64 and 2.99). In Experiment 2, adding a static PA to the screen did not improve performance. In Experiment 3, adding signaling such as color coding did not improve performance for students who received a gesturing PA. Results support the embodiment principle that people learn better from onscreen multimedia lessons when a gesturing PA is added to the screen, and social agency theory, which posits that social cues can prime learners to process the material more actively and develop better learning outcomes. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2018 APA, all rights reserved)

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