Introduction to Research on Learning

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

Handbook of Research on Learning and Instruction

Print publication date:  October  2016
Online publication date:  October  2016

Print ISBN: 9781138831759
eBook ISBN: 9781315736419
Adobe ISBN: 9781317566939


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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 (Kellogg, 1994; National Research Council, 2012), and mathematics (Kilpatrick, Swafford, & Findell, 2002; Thorndike, 1922). Although research on learning in academic content areas has a long history dating back to classic research by Huey (1908) and Thorndike (1922), much progress has been made, particularly in the past 25 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, 2012; Mayer, 1999, 2004, 2011; 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 the section to include the subject areas of science, history, second language learning, and physical education, as well as the hidden curriculum areas of critical thinking, study strategies, metacognition, and motivation.

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