Domain-specific and strategic knowledge: Effects of training on students of differing ages or competence levels

Patricia A. Alexander, P. Elizabeth Pate, Jonna M. Kulikowich, Donna M. Farrell, Nilah L. Wright

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54 Scopus citations


In this article, the authors describe the results of three experiments designed to examine the effect training has on students' domain-specific and strategic knowledge. Three groups of sixth graders participated in Experiment I. Subjects were low in competence in either human biological knowledge, or analogical reasoning, or both. In Experiment II, high schoolers of varied levels of competence in human biology/human immunology were studied. Subjects in Experiment III were college undergraduates, and the knowledge domain of interest was human immunology. As in Experiment I, the strategy trained in Experiments II and III was analogical reasoning. Science instruction in human biology or human immunology was given to certain groups, while strategy instruction in analogical reasoning was offered to other groups. Training was delivered via a direct instruction model. Certain treatment subjects in all experiments received both science and analogy instruction. Results indicate that, although both domain and strategy knowledge can be effectively trained at certain ages or with students of differing competence levels, domain-specific knowledge appears easier to transmit than general strategy knowledge. Further, gender seems to play an important role in the acquisition or utilization of such knowledge.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)283-325
Number of pages43
JournalLearning and Individual Differences
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1989

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Psychology
  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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