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Erik De Corte: Research on learning from instruction: recent advances and major challenges

Research on learning and instruction has produced a vast body of studies, resulting in an enriched conception of learning as involving the construction of knowledge and problem-solving skills mediated by instruction. As a result of this work there is now a solid, empirically underpinned theoretical framework that can guide the analysis of the effectiveness and the quality of teaching practices, but also the design of new and more powerful learning environments for the acquisition of worthwhile educational objectives. In this article important recent advances and major challenges in this field of research will be discussed and illustrated with examples of empirical research. It will be shown that the investigations have already yielded substantial building blocks for the elaboration of a practically relevant theory of learning from instruction. But it will also be argued that nevertheless important issues need to be unravelled by continued inquiry. This will be documented using as a frame of reference four interconnected components of a theory of learning from instruction: a theory of expertise, a theory of acquisition, a theory of intervention, and a theory of assessment. In this article only the first three components will be elaborated. A theory of expertise aims at analyzing competence in a domain, and, thus, addresses the question: what has to be learned? A theory of acquisition attempts to understand the processes of learning conducive to attaining competence. A theory of intervention focusses on designing powerful learning environments for eliciting those acquisition processes. A theory of assessment aims at developing assessment instruments for monitoring and guiding learning processes.

MAGYAR PEDAGÓGIA 101. Number 4. 413-434. (2001)

Address for correspondence: Erik De Corte, Center for Instructional Psychology and Technology (CIP&T), Department of Educational Sciences, University of Leuven, Vesaliusstraat 2, B–3000 Leuven, Belgium. E-mail: URL:

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Magyar Tudományos Akadémia