The effects of learning goals on implicit and explicit learning
This thesis, using Berry & Broadbent's (1984) computer-person interaction task, shows that three different learning goals result in three different learning modes. Experiment 1 demonstrated this effect: a pattern search goal resulted in explicit rule learning; a control task goal, as used in previous studies, resulted in instance learning where all instances are entered into a look-up table irrespective of whether the instance had been performed correctly or incorrectly; a dual goal, consisting of a combination of the last two goals, resulted in instance learning where only correct instances were entered into a look-up table. Experiment 2 refuted one explanation of the learning goal effect - it is not due to an indirect effect of altering the range of interactions that subjects see. Therefore, it must be due to a direct cognitive effect. Experiment 3 explored this direct effect showing that, in terms of Klahr and Dunbar's (1988) Dual Space model, a pattern search goal encourages the search primarily of rule space whereas a control task goal confines subjects to a search of instance space. The positive effect of self- explanations on both instance and rule learning was also demonstrated. Experiment 4 showed that subjects with the dual goal learn purely implicitly - all goal groups with a concurrent task of random number generation produced identical results to those of Experiment 1's dual goal group. Experiment 5 examined the leaning goal effect on memory. Surprisingly, pattern search learners may still learn instances and dual goal subjects may still memorise instances on which they make errors. Control task learners' abilities are a simple reflection of their memories. Experiments 6a and 6b showed that only near transfer of leaning occurs for control task instance learners. However, far transfer also occurs for pattern search learners, but only when the task transferred to is less complex, or of comparable complexity.