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Created: September 24, 2003
Latest Update: September 24, 2003
Site Copyright: Jeanne Curran and Susan R. Takata and Individual Authors, September 2003.
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David Ausubel's concept of using advance organizers like little flags or titles and subtitles to help you organize what you are about to read into a familiar structural pattern was popular already in the late sixies. the idea is cogently explained in AN ADVANCE ORGANIZER APPROACH TO DISTANCE LEARNING COURSE PRESENTATION By John W. Coffey and Alberto J. Caņas, a PDF file on the site.
The idea of the advance organizer was suggested by Ausubel (1968) well before hypermedia, distance learning initiatives, etc., became pervasive. Ausubel suggests that advance organizers might foster meaningful learning by prompting the student regarding pre-existing superordinate concepts that are already in the student's cognitive structure, and by otherwise providing a context of general concepts into which the student can incorporate progressively differentiated details. Ausubel claims that by presenting a global representation of the knowledge to be learned, advance organizers might foster "integrative reconciliation" of the subdomains of knowledge - the ability to understand interconnections among the basic concepts in the domain. This paper describes a new approach to distance learning course delivery based upon advance organizers.
". . . The advent of the Internet and hypermedia/multimedia has given rise to a broad range of possible representations that may be utilized as advance organizers. Modern advance organizers take the form of text passages (Herron, 1994; Kang, 1996), graphical representations (Gay & Mazur, 1991), maps (Jones, Farquhar, & Surry, 1995), and description + pictures (Herron, Hanley, & Cole, 1995). When applied to hypermedia, advance organizers might present global concepts, indicate paths through the content, or foster access to individual components. Krawchuk (1996) presents a taxonomy of advance organizers that includes traditional textual summaries and basic themes that are presented before instruction, organizations rendered in lines and arrows (like flowcharts), and pictorial graphic organizers. The latter category includes concept maps that present nonlinear representations of information and knowledge to be learned. This brief discussion of the literature documents the variety of advance organizers that might be utilized for a course of study. It is apparent that advance organizers have been used in a variety of ways to help students learn about a topic of study." Introduction to the file.