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Meaningfulness and instruction: Relating what is being learned to what a student knows

Abstract

Any comprehensive theory of instruction must include ways to optimize the acquisition, organization, and retrieval of new knowledge. An important concern in this regard is making new knowledge meaningful by relating it to prior knowledge. Although meaningfulness is usually thought of in terms of relating new knowledge to prior superordinate knowledge (as with the advance organizer), there are at least six other kinds of prior knowledge that can facilitate the acquisition, organization, and retrieval of new knowledge. Seven kinds of prior knowledge are described below, followed by a section on instructional strategies that an instructional designer or teacher can use to help optimize the learner's use of the seven kinds of prior knowledge for acquiring, organizing, and retrieving new knowledge.

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I am grateful to Bonnie Keller for her assistance in revising the original manuscript.

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Reigeluth, C.M. Meaningfulness and instruction: Relating what is being learned to what a student knows. Instr Sci 12, 197–218 (1983). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00051745

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Keywords

  • Prior Knowledge
  • Instructional Designer
  • Instructional Strategy
  • Important Concern
  • Comprehensive Theory