Academic journal article Educational Technology & Society

The Effect of Intrapsychology Learning before and after Interpsychology Activities with a Web-Based Sharing Mechanism

Academic journal article Educational Technology & Society

The Effect of Intrapsychology Learning before and after Interpsychology Activities with a Web-Based Sharing Mechanism

Article excerpt


The central concept of Vygotsky's theory is that individual cognition is based on the interaction among peers and their environment; the interaction is interceded by a mediator, such as tools, signs, and symbols. The mediator performs a vital role during the transformation from an inter-personal experience into an intra-personal form (Vygotsky, 1978). According to the socio-cultural approach proposed by Vygotsky (1978), learning is mainly an approach through interpsychology and intrapsychology. Vygotsky (1978) believed "every function in the child's cultural development appears twice; first, on the social level, and later, on the individual level--first, between people (interpsychology), and then inside the child (intrapsychology)." Interpsychology refers to interaction with others (Berge, 1999), such as "Questions and Answers" between students or between the instructor and students in class. Intrapsychology refers to the internalization, or reflection of knowledge, such as summarizing or annotating learning materials through self-study before or after class.

The sequence of learning activities described briefly above is similar to the sequence the "Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD)" stages proposed by Vygotsky (1978). This sequence is the distance between where performance is assisted by more capable students and where performance is unassisted. Learning in the ZPD could be divided into several stages, which includes the assistance and learning regulation provided from others to the learner himself. Thereby, the sequence of learning activities within a ZPD model serves as the first social interaction with capable peers (a kind of interpsychology), then self-regulation by the learner himself (a kind of intrapsychology). This sequence of learning activities is "intra- after inter-psychology" activities. For example: first the teacher presents a lecture, then interaction between peers in class takes place, and then 'self-study' activities (called review) follow after class.

Many literatures showed the relevance and importance of intrapsychology or interpsychology modes on learning. An "intra-after inter-psychology" learning sequence attained better learning effects than modes that only used in-class activities. For example, modes that used intrapsychology after interpsychology activities resulted in better learning achievement, facilitated better understanding and retention of learning materials, and attained higher levels of student confidence and creativeness (Cooper & Valentine, 2001; Hwang et al, 2011; Hwang, Wang, & Mike, 2007; Ongun, Altas, & Demirag, 2011).

There is another common reversed sequence in classroom learning, "intra- before inter-psychology" activities. An example of this sequence is a self-study before class (called pre-reading), followed by a lecture and peer discussion activities in class. The "intra- before inter-psychology" learning modes obtained better learning achievement than modes that employed only in-class activities. Namely, the top achievements were: students' learning achievement levels were improved and students' attention was more focused in class on the part previously not fully understood during pre-reading activities (Chen, 2008; Chiu & Lee, 2009). Web-based technology with a sharing mechanism into "intra- before inter-psychology" activities was also used to gauge the effectiveness of pre-reading on learning achievement and peer collaboration (Cobos & Pifarre, 2008; Hwang & Hsu, 2011).

However, few studies concentrated on further comparison between the learning sequence mode with "intra- before inter-psychology" activities and the mode with "intra- after inter-psychology" activities on learning, particularly within school classrooms. Furthermore, the effectiveness and comparison of "intra- before inter-psychology" activities and "intra- after inter-psychology" activities with/without a Web-based sharing mechanism were seldom studied. …

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