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2006Research Conference | June 15–16

This conference highlighted the work of invited speakers, independent researchers who have received grant funds from the Institute of Education Sciences, and trainees supported through predoctoral training grants and postdoctoral fellowships. The presentations are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the U.S. Department of Education or the Institute of Education Sciences.
Hyatt Regency Washington on Capitol Hill
400 New Jersey Avenue, N.W.
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iDRIVE: Instruction with Deep-level Reasoning Questions in Vicarious Environments: An Overview of Our First Year

Scotty D. Craig, University of Pittsburgh
Amy Witherspoon, Univeristy of Memphis
Barry Gholson, University of Memphis

Abstract: Vicarious learning environments are those in which the learners see and/or hear content for which they are not the addressees and have no way of physically interacting with the source of that content they are attempting to master. The origins of vicarious learning in human learning date back to the early work of Bandura (1962) who modeled aggression with children. More recent work, however, has investigated various manipulations designed to support constructive processes during vicarious knowledge acquisition.

It has long been known that question generation is one of the processing components that supports comprehension problem solving, and reasoning. Using vicarious learning environments, it has been shown that it is relatively easy to implement strategies taking about 30 minutes that promote the generation of deep-level reasoning questions (Craig et al., 2000). Vicarious learning environments that incorporate deep-level reasoning questions have also been shown to promote knowledge acquisition among college students (Driscoll et al., 2003).

Asking good questions can lead to improved comprehension, learning, and memory of the materials among school children. To encourage the use of questions by student, we are implementing our vicarious learning environment methodology into the classroom. During the first year of our project, we have established connections with several middle and high schools from the Memphis city school system. We have implemented randomized studies in 8th, 9th, 10th, and 11th grade classrooms. Some results from these studies will be reported along with an overview of our projected plan for year two.