College students often struggle when they are faced with situations where they are required to read multiple texts and integrate across them. The present study examines an integration task designed to stimulate cross-system integration for college biology students reading about two related physiological systems. Learners (n = 617) were randomly assigned to read about the endocrine and urinary systems in the form of either two separate texts or a single text as they completed one of three task conditions: an integration condition, a comprehension condition, or a comparison condition. After reading, learners completed a free recall test and these responses were scored for whether or not learners integrated between the two physiological systems. Findings revealed that learners who engaged in the condition designed to stimulate integration were statistically significantly more likely to have integrated than those in the two comparison conditions. In addition, learners who read about the systems in the format of a single text were statistically significantly more likely to integrate than those who read the texts separately. Learners' self-reported strategy use was also examined. Learners' integration strategy use mediated the impact of the integration condition on the integration outcome measure. In sum, there is evidence that the integration condition employed in this study is a promising avenue for supporting college students' reading of multiple, componential texts.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Social Psychology
- Developmental and Educational Psychology