ERIC Number: ED311881
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1988
Reference Count: N/A
Textual Design and Student Learning.
Parer, Michael S.
A study was conducted to examine the relationships of four areas of textual design factors that are relevant to external students' learning as they use their course study guides: the micro and macro textual features, the linguistics, and the instructional design elements. Twelve external students from two units at the Gippsland Institute were observed in real time using a Study Protocol Recorder (SPR). They completed the Lancaster Approaches to Studying Inventory and the Biggs Study Process Questionnaire and were interviewed in a debriefing session. It was found that students valued and were aided by access structures, i.e., devices which gave them access to the author's argument, enabling them to gain an overview of the text and to locate the key elements of the subject. Although few used the terms "access structures" or "advance organizers" to describe these devices, they did mention the assistance given by tables of contents, objectives, headings, introductory chapters, selective sampling, and summarizing. This led to the conclusion that access structures are of greater help in studying than legibility features. The further conclusion was that the use of unambiguous and logical language, with appropriate sentence and paragraph sequences, can compensate for inadequate typographic signalling; and that headings, illustrations, and photographs that are not directly relevant can annoy those who seek connections between all elements of the textual presentation. The ideal is for a blend of all four levels of textual elements to aid the external student in using course study guides, so that resources invested in improving textual design will aid both deep and surface learners. Two questionnaires are appended. (68 references and 6 tables) (Author/GL)
Descriptors: Advance Organizers, Comprehension, Distance Education, External Degree Programs, Higher Education, Instructional Design, Language Usage, Learning Processes, Readability, Reader Text Relationship, Text Structure
The Centre for Distance Learning, Gippsland Institute, Switchback Road, Churchill 3842, Victoria, Australia ($20.00).
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Tests/Questionnaires
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Australian and South Pacific External Studies Association.
Authoring Institution: Gippsland Inst., Churchill (Australia). Centre for Distance Learning.
Identifiers - Location: Australia
Identifiers - Assessments and Surveys: Approaches to Studying Inventory; Study Process Questionnaire