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ZAPs: Using Interactive Programs for Learning Psychology

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Interactive Learning Environments Volume 13, Number 1, ISSN 1049-4820


ZAPs are short, self-contained computer programs that encourage students to experience psychological phenomena in a vivid, self-explanatory way, and that are meant to evoke enthusiasm about psychological topics. ZAPs were designed according to principles that originate from experiential and discovery learning theories. The interactive approach that is offered invites students to engage in subject matter through exploration, experience, and discovery of psychology. In an empirical study, the effectiveness of different ZAPs for teaching psychology was examined. A group of students who worked with complete ZAPs was compared to a control group who worked with a ZAP from which the "activity" component was removed. Posttest results showed that the control group outperformed the experiment group. However, on a retention test the differences between the groups disappeared. The results show that, in the long run, relatively good learning effects may be expected from working with ZAPs.


Hulshof, C.D., Eysink, T.H.S., Loyens, S. & de Jong, T. (2005). ZAPs: Using Interactive Programs for Learning Psychology. Interactive Learning Environments, 13(1), 39-53. Retrieved March 7, 2021 from .

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