Generalization of self-instruction: The effect of strategy adaptation training as a function of cognitive level


In an examination of the factors involved in the generalization of self-instruction training, 48 preoperational and concrete operational first- and second-grade children received either self-instruction training or no training on the Matching Familiar Figures Test. In subsequent training using a perceptual perspective-taking task, half of the children in the self-instruction group received training in the specific adaptation of the previously learned strategy, the remainder received training in the general adaptation of the strategy. All groups were posttested on these two tasks and a generalization task (Tower of Hanoi). Preoperational and concrete operational children in both adaptation groups improved significantly at posttest on both training tasks. On the generalization task, only concrete operational children in the specific adaptation group showed significant improvement. These findings support the view that the format of instructions interacts with the child's cognitive capacities. The need is emphasized for a more individualized intervention context which considers the developmental status of child. © 1984.

Publication Title

Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology