On the Reciprocal Relationship Between Previous Experience and Processing in Determining Learning Outcomes

  • Ernst Z. Rothkopf
Part of the Nato Conference Series book series (NATOCS, volume 5)


The learning process is complex and incompletely understood. Despite this, the general factors that appear relevant to the measured success of instruction are small in number. At least at the first level of approximation, they can be simply described, first there are those factors that determine that students will come in physical proximity of instructive events. In the case of written material, these factors include the incidence of instructive events in the text, and compliance by students with reading assignments and/or suggestions. The second class of factors are those that determine whether an instructive event, once it has been encountered, will be perceived and internally represented in instructionally appropriate ways. The third factor primarily determines test performance. This factor is related to (a) the semantic and structural disparity between instructive events and the test, as well as (b) forgetting. Whether the required skills are learned is determined by the opportunities for encounters with suitable instructive events, as well as by the likelihood of sufficient internal representation. The disparity and forgetting factor determines whether acquired competence is translated into appropriate test performance.


Test Item Reciprocal Relationship Processing Level Experience Level Instructive Event 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Reference Note

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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1978

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ernst Z. Rothkopf
    • 1
  1. 1.Bell LaboratoriesMurray HillUSA

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