Learning from physics text: A synthesis of recent research

Patricia A. Alexander, Jonna M. Kulikowich

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

58 Scopus citations


Learning from physics text is described as a complex interaction of learner, text, and context variables. As a multidimensional procedure, text processing in the domain of physics relies on readers' knowledge and interest, and on readers' ability to monitor or regulate their processing. Certain textual features intended to assist readers in understanding and remembering physics content may actually work to the detriment of those very processes. Inclusion of seductive details and the incorporation of analogies may misdirect readers' attention or may increase processing demands, particularly in those cases when readers' physics knowledge is low. The questioning behaviors of teachers also impact on the task of comprehending physics texts. Finally, within the context of the classroom, the information that teachers dispense or the materials they employ can significantly influence the process of learning from physics text.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)895-911
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Research in Science Teaching
Issue number9
StatePublished - Nov 1994

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Education


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