Using Graphical Organizers to Improve Self-Regulated Learning: Constructive Activities Enhance Deep Learning with Online Materials


The interactivity framework (Chi, 2009) proposes learners experience greater learning benefits as they become more generative with learning material. This research investigated the active-constructive-interactive framework in the context of graphical organizers before a self-regulated, online learning task. Graphical displays were node-link diagrams, where nodes identified important domain concepts and link labels described the relationship between concepts. Conditions examined: passive (in which nodes and links were provided); active (in which nodes were provided and learners revealed link labels on demand); and constructive (in which nodes were provided and learners generated link labels). Findings were consistent with the interactivity framework for constructive learners, who integrated more concepts into posttest concept maps and included more deep (relational/causal) statements in their posttest essays. However, there were no significant differences for passive and active conditions. Results demonstrate that constructive activities may be necessary to support deeper learning outcomes in activities used before self-directed learning tasks.

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