Die invloed van interferensie op die verstaan van leerinhoud
Kotzé, Christo Abraham
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1. Aim: The aim of the study was firstly to determine the influence of interference on the understanding of subject-matter. Secondly the influence of the speed of presenting subjectmatter on the understanding was to be investigated. Literature was studied to provide general background information before two experiments were undertaken to investigate the influence of the two abovementioned variables on comprehension. 2. Review of the literature studied: There are different levels of information processing of which the comprehension of subject-matter is one of the most important levels of processing. As information processing, and thus comprehension, takes place in the memory, the human memory and how it functions was discussed. The memory consists of the sensory memory, the short term memory and the long term memory. The short term memory has a limited capacity which may be affected by the speed of the presentation of subjectmatter. Both the short, and the long term memory is particularly sensitive towards interference. Interference also affects the memory in a retro-active and pro-active manner. Thus the probability exists that interference could influence the levels of processing of which comprehension is one. Therefore the various factors that cause interference were discussed: for example, the similarity in subject-matter, the amount of subject-matter learnt, the time allowed for absorbing facts, etc. (to mention only some factors).Various definitions of understanding were given. From these it was deduced that in order to learn, the subject-matter had to be comprehended first. Because learning takes place through language, the importance of the comprehension of words, sentences and paragraphs was discussed and the influence of interference on these was shown. The interaction between the memory, interference and comprehension was discussed and it was deduced that if interference influences the memory, the probability exsists that it can also influence comprehension, because the latter takes place in the memory. The literature studied suggested that interference influences the comprehension of subject-matter. Furthermore, that the speed of the presentation of subject-matter may overload the limited capacity of the short term memory and thereby probably influencing the understanding of subject-matter. 3. Experiment: 3.1 Experimental design: Two separate experiments were performed using the same method in both. The first experiment was designed for Standard 3 pupils with base 5 as subject-matter. The second experiment was designed for first year students with combinations and permutations as subjectmatter. A 3 x 2 factorial design was used for both experiments. The factors used were interference and the speed of presenting the subject-matter. Interference was achieved by presenting subject-matter without interference to a control group and subject-matter with interference to the experimental group. The subject-matter was presented at a slow, medium and fast rate. 3.2 Subjects: For the base 5 experiment 120 Standerd 3 pupils from a white primary school were divided into six groups by means of random sampling. There were 20 subjects in each grou.p. For the combinations and permutations experiment 120 first year students from a white Teachers Training College were randomly divided into six groups. Again there were 20 subjects in each group. 3.3 Procedure: The same procedure was followed in both experiments. The experiments consisted of two phases. During the first phase the subjects were taught Lesson I-content at different speeds of presentation which would enable them to understand the actual subject- atter. After the first phase, the subjects were given a test to determine their comprehension of the Lesson I-content. During the second phase the experimental group (60 subjects) was presented with Lesson II-content that was calculated to interfere with the Lesson I-content. During the same period the control group (60 subjects) did a "fill-in" activity, ("vuller-aktiwiteit"). After the second phase all the subjects were given a test to determine how well they had comprehended the Lesson Icontent and whether the interfering Lesson II-content had had any influence on comprehension. In the test the subjects also reported on a three point scale whether they had comprehended the subject-matter or not. Thus two measurements of comprehension were achieved. 3.4 Processing of the data: The achievement in the comprehension test of the subjects in both experiments was analysed to determine what the influence of interference and the influence of the speed of presenting subject-matter was on the subjects' comprehension.The statistical method used was the Kruskal-Wallis one-way analysis of variance. 3.5 Results: The results were mostly negative possibly due to the fact that interference had not been entirely successfully achieved. The variance of groups was furthermore not homogeneous. The following were the most important results gained from the two experiments. The differences in the test of comprehension score due to the influence of interference was found to be significant in the combinations and permutations experiment [H = 10,70; d.f. = 1; p = 0,00]. The differences in the individual report test score due to the influence of the speed of presenting the subject-matter was found to be Significant in the base 5 experiment [H = 21,03; d.f. = 2; p = 0,0]. 3.6 conclusion: From the statistical results it may be concluded that interference could influence the comprehension of subject-matter. To a lesser extent the speed of presenting subject-matter may have an influence on the comprehension of subject-matter. These conclusions seem to support the theories and findings mentioned in the relevant literature.
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