Does having more knowledge or interest in the topics used in example problems facilitate or hinder learning in statistics? Undergraduates enrolled in Introductory Psychology received a lesson on central tendency. Following the lesson, half of the students completed a worksheet with a baseball cover story while the other half received a weather cover story. Learning was assessed using a quiz that contained two kinds of items: computation and explanation. Measures of baseball knowledge and interest in baseball were collected. The results indicated that overall the students performed better on computation items than explanation items. The weather example led to better performance on the explanation items than the baseball example. No differences were seen in performance on the quiz as a function of gender, prior knowledge, or interest. If anything, the results indicated that interest in baseball seemed to hinder learning in the baseball condition. Possible reasons for differences in performance due to the cover story are discussed.
Ricks, Travis Rex and Wiley, Jennifer
"Effects of Cover Stories on Problem Solving in a Statistics Course,"
The Journal of Problem Solving:
1, Article 6.
Available at: http://docs.lib.purdue.edu/jps/vol7/iss1/6