Introduction to Research on Learning

Authored by: Richard E. Mayer , Patricia A. Alexander

Handbook of Research on Learning and Instruction

Print publication date:  December  2010
Online publication date:  February  2011

Print ISBN: 9780415804608
eBook ISBN: 9780203839089
Adobe ISBN: 9781136882159


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The psychology of subject matter is the scientific study of how people learn school subjects such as reading (Huey, 1908/1968), writing (Gregg & Steinberg, 1980; Kellogg, 1994), and mathematics (Resnick & Ford, 1981; Thorndike, 1922). Although research on learning in academic content areas has a long history dating back to classic research by Huey (1908/1968) and Thorndike (1922), much progress has been made, particularly in the past 20 years. For this reason, the development of the psychology of subject matter has been recognized as one of the major accomplishments of educational psychology (Alexander, Murphy, & Greene, in press; Mayer, 1999, 2004, 2008; Shulman & Quinlan, 1996). This first section of the Handbook provides a research-based overview of the exciting progress being made in our understanding of learning in subject areas. In addition to chapters on reading, writing, and mathematics, we have expanded Part I to include the subject areas of science, history, second language learning, and physical education, as well as the hidden curriculum areas of critical thinking, metacognition, and motivation.

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