How to help students learn from multiple representations using material-focused and learner-focused interventions

  • Start Date: March 15, 2016 at 4:00 pm
  • End Date: March 15, 2016 at 5:30 pm
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  • Location: B35a, Exchange Building, Jubilee Campus
  • Ticket Price: 0.00

Presented by Prof. Dr. Katharina Scheiter, Universität Tübingen, Germany

Students often face difficulties in learning from multiple representations in that they fail to properly integrate information from the different sources. Integration of multiple representations comprises identifying correspondences between the representations and mentally representing the information from the external representations and the referential connections between them in a coherent mental model. Integration has been shown to be pivotal for learning success, which is why an important question is to how support learners in integration. In general, two different types of support can be distinguished: First, materials can be redesigned so that they facilitate the identification of correspondences. However, this requires that as an instructor one has full control over the material design; moreover, as I will show in my talk, this approach may be harmful for more advanced learners. Thus, a second approach relies on prompting or instructing learners to integrate – based on the assumption that while learners are in principle able to identify correspondences between representations, they often simply do no attempt to do so sufficiently. Learner-focused interventions leave more freedom to the learner to decide how to follow the instructions and may thus be less harmful for advanced students. In my talk I will present a series of studies on material-focused and learner-focused interventions and discuss the conditions under which they work.



Katharina Scheiter studied psychology at the University of Goettingen (diploma: 1999). Afterwards she first received a scholarship of the Graduate College for Cognitive Science funded by the DFG and then worked as a research associate at the Saarland University until 2002. From 2002 to 2009 she worked as an assistant professor at the Department of Applied Cognitive Psychology and Media Psychology of the University of Tuebingen, where she also finished her PhD in 2003. In 2009 she received her habilitation in psychology for her work on the „Theoretical and empirical foundations of theories of multimedia learning: A critical reconsideration“. Since beginning of 2009 she has headed a lab at the KMRC, where together with her fellow co-workers she investigates underlying cognitive processes as well as means of supporting learning with multimedia. In 2009 she was honoured with the Erik de Corte Award for Young and Promising Scholars in the Science of Learning and Instruction of the European Association for Learning and Instruction (EARLI). From 2009 to 2013 she coordinated the Special Interest Group 2: Comprehension of Text and Graphics of the EARLI together with Erica de Vries (University of Grenoble). Since September 2013 she has acted as the spokeswoman for the Section Educational Psychology of the German Psychology Association (DGPs).

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