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DurationJuly 2010–November 2014
FundingHector Foundation II
Project description

Some types of instructions are more or less effective in enhancing learning outcomes for different groups of individuals. This depends, for example, on learners’ specific cognitive abilities. Optimal learning occurs when the type of instruction is exactly matched to a particular learner’s aptitude. This project was concerned with the development of adaptive forms of instructions for learners with high cognitive prerequisites: namely gifted and high-performing elementary school children.

The project investigated whether the learning success of gifted and high-performing children can be enhanced by specific types of instructions. We assumed that gifted and high-performing children should benefit more from complex and open learning environments than averagely gifted children. This assumption was based on their higher working memory capacity which should enable them to cope better with complex instructional designs. Results of the project showed that teacher-nominated gifted children had a significantly higher working memory (WM) capacity than non-nominated children. Furthermore, children high in WM capacity benefitted more from a multiperspective hypermedia environment than from a linear learning environment in terms of their multiperspective reasoning performance. In addition, we could show that WM capacity was positively associated with a navigational behavior that primarily aims to select conceptual overview pages and that this kind of navigational behavior turned out to significantly predict learning performance.

The project was conducted in cooperation with the Hector Research Institute for Education Sciences and Psychology (Prof. Trautwein) of the University of Tuebingen.

  • Kornmann, J., Kammerer, Y., Anjewierden, A., Zettler, I., Trautwein, U., & Gerjets, P. (2016). How children navigate a multiperspective hypermedia environment: The role of spatial working memory capacity. Computers in Human Behavior, 55, 145-158.

  • Kornmann, J., Kammerer, Y., Zettler, I., Trautwein, U., & Gerjets, P. (2016). Hypermedia exploration stimulates multiperspective reasoning in elementary school children with high working memory capacity: A tablet computer study Learning and Individual Differences, 51, 273-283.

  • Kornmann, J., Zettler, I., Kammerer, Y., Gerjets, P., & Trautwein, U. (2015). What characterizes children nominated as gifted by teachers? A closer consideration of working memory and intelligence. High Ability Studies, 26, 75-92.