Learning How to Write an Academic Text: The Effect of Instructional Method and Writing Preference on Academic Writing Performance
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Abstract

Learning How to Write an Academic Text:
The Effect of Instructional Method and Writing Preference on Academic Writing Performance

Janneke van der Loo, Emiel Krahmer & Marije van Amelsvoort (2018)
Journal of Writing Research, 9(3), 233-258

In this study we investigated which instructional method is suitable for university students to learn how to write an academic text. We have compared observational learning with learning by doing, and we have explored the effects of writing preference (planning versus revising) on academic writing performance. In an experiment 145 undergraduate students were assigned to either an observational learning or learning-by-doing condition. In observational learning participants learned by observing a weak and strong models’ writing processes. In learning by doing they learned by performing writing tasks. Prior to the sessions participants were labeled as either planners or revisers based on a writing style questionnaire. The effects of the sessions were analyzed with a 2x2 between-subjects design with instructional method (observational learning, learning by doing) and writing preference (plan, revise) as factors. To measure academic writing performance the participants wrote an introduction to an empirical research paper.
We found no main effects for instructional method and writing preference. Simple effect analyses did reveal that revisers benefitted somewhat more from observational learning than planners. Planners performed equally well in observational learning and learning by doing. However, planners who learned by doing did seem to outperform revisers who learned by doing. Our study suggests that observational learning presents interesting opportunities for academic writing courses. However, more research on the interplay between writing strategy and instructional method is called for.

PDF | doi: 10.17239/jowr-2018.09.03.01

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