Students' Metacognition and Cognitive Style and Their Effect on Cognitive Load and Learning Achievement

By Lopez-Vargas, Omar; Ibanez-Ibanez, Jaime et al. | Educational Technology & Society, July 2017 | Go to article overview

Students' Metacognition and Cognitive Style and Their Effect on Cognitive Load and Learning Achievement


Lopez-Vargas, Omar, Ibanez-Ibanez, Jaime, Racines-Prada, Oswaldo, Educational Technology & Society


Introduction

In recent decades, different computer-based learning environments (CBLE) have been used in an educational context to provide support for the teaching-learning process in different levels of schooling. The use of these environments in the classroom has generated high expectations among the academic community since it is believed that when students interact with these scenarios, they can take on a more active role in their own learning process and thus achieve more successful and motivating learning experiences (Clark & Meyer, 2008; Mayer, 2005; McNamara & Shapiro, 2005; Shapiro, 2008). However, some studies indicate that little empirical evidence exists to support these expectations since in some cases, students do not accomplish the desired learning nor do they all equally benefit from these environments (Alomyan, 2004; Beserra, Nussbaum, Oteo, & Martin, 2014; Calandra & Barron, 2005; Lopez-Vargas, Hederich-Martinez, & Camargo-Uribe, 2012).

In this research field, some studies explain that LA obtained by students when intercting with computational environments may be directly related to student's cognitive style and CL. Regarding cognitive style, for example, in the Field Dependence--Independence -FDI- dimension, most of the studies show that field independent novices, when interacting with hypermedia environments, organize and process information more efficiently and obtain greater LAs in comparison to their field dependent classmates (Alomyan, 2004; Altun & Cakan, 2006; Chen & Macredie, 2002; Handal & Herrington, 2004; Lopez-Vargas & Valencia-Vallejo, 2012).

With respect to CL, some research show that the characteristics in the design of computational environments can favor or limit students' learning process. Thus, the mental effort employed by a subject when developing a learning task may be negatively affected if the organization of the information presented overloads the limited resources of the working memory. This situation efficiently affects knowledge building (Artino, 2008; Clark & Mayer, 2008; Mayer, 2005; Sweller, Ayres, & Kalyuga, 2011; Sweller, van Merrienboer, & Paas, 1998).

On the other hand, studies show that the use of scaffolding favors subjects' performance when they undertake learning tasks in an autonomous manner in computational environments (Greene, Moos, Azevedo, & Winters, 2008; Delen, Liew, & Willson, 2014; Kim & Hannafin, 2011; Lehmann, Hahnlein, & Ifenthaler, 2014; Zhang, 2013). In this research area, the use of metacognitive scaffolding in computational environments is an aid for the student when managing and regulating cognitive processes during the learning process. Thus, the subject plans activities, monitors and controls the progress of proposed goals, and evaluates the obtained results (Molenaar, Boxtel, & Sleegers, 2010; Quintana, Zhang, & Krajcik, 2005; Zhang, 2013; Zhang & Quintana, 2012).

Literature review

Field Dependence--Independence (FDI)

In an educational context, the most studied cognitive style is the Field Dependence--Independence (FDI) dimension proposed and developed by Witkin and his colleagues (Witkin & Goodenough, 1981). In an information technologies context, research on cognitive style in the FDI dimension systematically show that students referred to as Field Independent (FI) obtain better LAs than their Field Dependent (FD) classmates when interacting in hypermedia environments. Studies evidence that FD students prefer their study material to be organized sequentially (linear) since they are easily disoriented and they do not know where to begin, nor in what direction to continue; situation that makes it harder for them to effectively structure and restructure the information. Additionally, they prefer the browsing process in the computational scenario to be in groups and guided by external agents, and that the control over the learning process be exercised by the own computational environment (Alomyan, 2004; Chen & Macredie, 2002; Handal & Herrington, 2004). …

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