Instructional Science

, Volume 30, Issue 6, pp 433–464 | Cite as

Scaffolding cognitive and metacognitive processes in low verbal ability learners: Use of diagrams in computer-based training environments

  • Haydee M. Cuevas
  • Stephen M. Fiore
  • Randall L. Oser


This study investigated how instructionalstrategies can support learners' knowledgeacquisition and metacomprehension of complexsystems in a computer-based trainingenvironment, and how individual characteristicsinteract with these manipulations. Incorporating diagrams into the trainingfacilitated performance on measures ofintegrative knowledge (i.e., the integrationand application of task-relevant knowledge),but had no significant effect on measures ofdeclarative knowledge (i.e., mastery of basicfactual knowledge). Diagrams additionallyfacilitated the development of accurate mentalmodels (as measured via a card sorting task)and significantly improved the instructionalefficiency of the training (i.e., higher levelof performance was achieved with less mentaleffort). Finally, diagrams effectivelyscaffolded participants' metacognition,improving their metacomprehension accuracy(i.e., their ability to accurately monitortheir comprehension). These beneficial effectsof diagrams on learners' cognitive andmetacognitive processes were found to bestrongest for participants with low verbalability. Results are discussed in terms ofimplications for the design of adaptivelearning systems.

computer-based training diagrams individual differences instructional efficiency learning mental models metacognition verbal ability 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • Haydee M. Cuevas
    • 1
  • Stephen M. Fiore
    • 1
  • Randall L. Oser
    • 2
  1. 1.University of Central FloridaU.S.A. E-mail
  2. 2.Naval Air Warfare CenterTraining Systems DivisionFloridaU.S.A

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