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Using Knowledge Construction Theory to Evaluate Learning Processes: A Randomized Controlled Trial on Showing Gradually Built-up Concept Maps Alongside a Scientific Text

posted on 2023-12-26, 08:20 authored by Leonie Disch, Angela Fessl, Simone Franza, Joachim Kimmerle, Viktoria Pammer-Schindler

Scientific texts convey new and complex information relevant not only to researchers but also to lay audiences. We present a randomized controlled trial that investigated whether showing a concept map, gradually building up as a user reads a scientific text, supports the cognitive processes of knowledge construction. The intervention group (n = 44) exhibited significantly more knowledge construction [t(89) = 1.94, p = .029, d = 0.41] than the control group (n = 47). The intervention supported basic knowledge construction, i.e., simple processing of information, but not medium and complex levels. This study makes two contributions: (1) showing interactive concept maps and building them up gradually alongside reading helps make scientific texts cognitively more accessible to a lay audience, e.g., to inform public debate, and (2) knowledge construction theory can be used as a theoretical foundation for measuring specific aspects of learning processes—complementing other metrics for comparative design examinations, e.g., usability, user experience, or performance-based measures.


This work was supported by the DDIA COMET Module within the COMET, Competence Centers for Excellent Technologies Program, funded by the Austrian Federal Ministry (BMK and BMDW), the Austrian Research Promotion Agency (FFG), the Province of Styria (SFG) and partners from industry and academia. The COMET Program is managed by FFG. This work is further supported by the project “TRIPLE,” which is funded by the European Commission under the Horizon 2020 program (grant number 693092). The Know-Center is generally funded within COMET—Competence Centers for Excellent Technologies—under the auspices of the Austrian Federal Ministry of Transport, Innovation and Technology, the Austrian Federal Ministry of Economy, Family and Youth, and by the State of Styria.


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    International Journal of Human-Computer Interaction



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