Effective learning activities in observation tasks when learning to write and read argumentative texts
Faculty of Applied Economics
European journal of psychology of education. - Lisboa
, p. 33-48
On repeated occasions, observational learning has proved itself to be an effective instruction method. Experimental studies have shown to be effective for complex tasks such as reading and writing for both teachers and students as models. The problem when interpreting the results of such research is that, in observation tasks, several mental activities play a simultaneous role. In this study we therefore set out to identify the effective elements of observation tasks. We focused on two elements of the observation tasks, both aimed at stimulating monitoring activities: evaluation of the models performance and elaboration on this evaluation. We have also distinguished between elaboration on the observed products (the models written answers), and elaboration on the observed processes (the models verbalisations of their mental activities). The data were subjected to a LISREL analysis. First of all, it was observed that subjects who performed evaluation and productelaboration better, and process-elaboration more often in one lesson, also performed these activities better or more often in the subsequent lesson. Next, we observed an effect of aptitude on the learning activities: pre skill scores influence evaluation and product-elaboration. The most important finding is that evaluation and product-elaboration contribute positively to argumentative writing skills. It is discussed that these findings confirm the importance of the monitoring, evaluative and reflective activities when learning complex tasks as writing.