I was the primary researcher on this project. I conceived of the idea, executed the experiment, analyzed the data, and finally wrote the article based on the results. Along the way I had input and guidance from my graduate advisor.


A common usage of textual repositories of information is to seek out and gather important information for a specific learning goal. However, not all material is organized in a single location, and users are often forced to visit multiple pages or sources to develop understanding. In these situations, are different learners more or less sensitive to drawing the underlying connections between multiple documents, which are relevant for the eventual learning goals? This study examines the performance of undergraduates who vary in working memory capacity as they were asked to learn about plants from a Wiki-like website. Participants were pretested on their knowledge of both biology and the plant kingdom. Results indicate that learning underlying conceptual structure is indeed predicted by working memory, but not prior knowledge. This suggests that individual characteristics should be considered when designing learning technologies in the future.

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