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The Effects of Prior Knowledge and Goal Strength on the Use of Hypertext

, , Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, United States ; , George Mason University, United States

Journal of Educational Multimedia and Hypermedia Volume 10, Number 1, ISSN 1055-8896 Publisher: Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE), Waynesville, NC USA


The study examined the influences of a student's prior knowledge and desired goal on the difficulties and benefits associated with learning from hypertext. Twelve students from an undergraduate course in educational psychology par-ticipated in the study. Students used a hypertext program (SKEIM, Kelly, 1993) to explore course content related to tests and measurements. The program automatically collects information about students' choices of topic, subtopic, and time on topic. Students were assigned to either a high or low prior knowledge category, based on whether they had prior ex-posure to the material, and were further assigned to subgroups with strong or weak goals. Students with strong goals were re-quired to use the program to find the answers to specific ques-tions whereas students in the weak goal condition were simply required to use the program for the general purpose of ac-quainting themselves with the material. Students were inter-viewed about their reactions to the program. They were also shown the path they had taken through the material and were asked about their choices. Results indicate that prior knowl-edge and goal strength are important contributors to students' cognitive and affective reactions to the hypertext system.


Last, D.A., O’Donnell, A.M. & Kelly, A.E. (2001). The Effects of Prior Knowledge and Goal Strength on the Use of Hypertext. Journal of Educational Multimedia and Hypermedia, 10(1), 3-25. Norfolk, VA: Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE). Retrieved December 16, 2019 from .


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