The current study examined the effects of providing learning aids during a lecture on later test performance, and its relationship to structure-building ability. Before taking notes on an audio lecture, participants were either given a skeletal outline, an illustrative diagram, or no learning aid at all. After the lecture, participants were given a free recall test and a short-answer test that probed understanding of target concepts (requiring explanation). For low-ability structure builders, outlines improved free recall but not short-answer performance compared to the no-aid control condition. By contrast, providing high-ability structure builders with outlines improved free recall and short-answer performance (relative to the control). An illustrative diagram improved free recall and short-answer performance compared to the control condition, regardless of structure-building ability. Thus, these aids are generally useful for improving learning while listening to a lecture. Implications for the more specific enhancement patterns for low-ability structure builders are discussed.
Via Rosemary Tyrrell