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Mediators and Moderators in Individual and Collaborative Writing to Learn

Klein, P.D. (2015)
Journal of Writing Research, 7(1), 201-214

Research on writing to learn is conceptually rich and pedagogically important. This special issue contributes to our growing knowledge about the variables that mediate and moderate the effects of writing on learning. One group of studies addresses individual writing; it adds to the growing evidence for the effects of several moderators, including cognitive, metacognitive, and personal utility prompts in journal writing (Wäschle et al.); and discipline-specific prompts for argument writing (Van Drie et al.). The individual-level studies also suggest moderator roles for discipline-general strategies of argumentation (Smirnova); and open-ended informational writing assignments (Wilcox et al.). Additionally, the Wäschle et al. study provides the strongest evidence for a specific sequence of mediation: Prompted journal writing to comprehension to interest to critical reflection. The second set of articles focusses on collaborative writing (Corcelles & Castelló; Ortoleva and Bétrancourt). It suggests moderating roles for discipline-specific analytic strategies, and peer interaction; and suggests mediating roles for exploratory discourse and group regulation. Further experimental research on collaborative writing is needed to conclusively test hypotheses about specific mediator and moderator variables. The studies in this special issue, like many recent studies, are incommensurable with some influential theories of writing to learn. Rather, individual and collaborative studies converge to suggest that writing to learn may be conceptualized as a guided process of cognition and self-regulation.

PDF | doi: 10.17239/jowr-2015.07.01.08

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