Personal Epistemology, Understanding of Multiple Texts, and Learning Within Internet Technologies

  • Ivar Bråten


Several studies have linked students’ epistemological beliefs to their textbased learning, with this body of research generally indicating that more naive beliefs (e.g., that knowledge is certain or simple) are related to poorer performance. One limitation of these studies is that they have almost exclusively focused on the reading of one single text. Another, related, limitation is that learning has mainly been studied in traditional print environments. In the present chapter, I will address these two limitations of current epistemological research. First, I will argue that the importance of epistemological beliefs may be even greater when learners try to build integrated mental representations of multiple texts dealing with a particular topic than when they try to learn from one single text. Correspondingly, I will argue that epistemological beliefs may play a more important role in new technological learning environments than when learning with more traditional instructional materials. To empirically back up these arguments, I will then summarize and discuss the findings of some recent research conducted by my group at the University of Oslo, with this research pertaining to the role epistemological beliefs play in the understanding of multiple textual sources, as well as to their role when learning with hypermedia technology. Finally, some educational implications of these findings will be highlighted.


Epistemological Belief Expository Text Personal Epistemology Single Text Multiple Text 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media B.V 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ivar Bråten
    • 1
  1. 1.University of OsloOsloNorway

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