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On costs of good intentions : the effect of problem contextualisation on knowledge acquisition.

Beckmann, J.F. and Goode, N. (2013) 'On costs of good intentions : the effect of problem contextualisation on knowledge acquisition.', 15th Biennial Conference of the European Association for Learning and Instruction. Munich, Germany, 27-31 August 2013.


In previous research it has been shown that a semantically familiar problem context can be detrimental to knowledge acquisition. The aim of this study was to test two competing explanations for this effect: goal adoption versus assumptions. Participants were asked to learn about the causal structure of a linear system presented on a computer through goal free exploration. Across four conditions the level of context familiarity was experimentally varied. Results lend no evidence for goal adoption as an explanation for poor knowledge acquisition under familiar conditions. Rather, it appears that a high number of a priori assumptions that tend not to be tested systematically are the main barrier to the acquisition of new knowledge. Implications for research in problem solving, knowledge acquisition and the design of computer-based learning environments are discussed.

Item Type:Conference item (Paper)
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Status:Not peer-reviewed
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Date accepted:No date available
Date deposited:No date available
Date of first online publication:August 2013
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