Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Research on learning from instruction has focused primarily on semantic and procedural rather than episodic memories by students. Martin (1993) hypothesized that episodic memories of students mediate learning from instructional interventions because of the personal associations carried with them. The present research investigated the role of episodic memories of Grade 6 students in mathematics instruction, especially with respect to the possible mediation of student learning. Individual differences in learning style, attitude toward learning, and knowledge were investigated as possible factors that affect recall of episodic memories from classroom instruction. Study 1 assessed the suitability of two learning style inventories for use with a Grade 6 sample. The Individual Differences Questionnaire was found to be a good measure for verbal/imaginal encoding, and the Inventory of Learning Processes was found to be an adequate measure of learning style related to theories of information processing. In Study 2, students completed an attitude toward mathematics inventory, tests of prior knowledge and achievement, and were required to list their episodic memories for classroom instruction. Initial support for the mediational hypothesis was not seen in Study 2. Although expected, encoding preference did not affect scores on the posttests. Instruction may not have varied enough to allow students with either preference to benefit. As a result, Study 3 manipulated the amount of imagery used during instruction to determine if such a manipulation affected recall of information presented. Students completed the same battery of tests as in Study 2 in a controlled setting with instruction in mathematics presented via videotape. Students who preferred to encode verbally did better on posttests of achievement in the verbal condition. Students who preferred to encode imaginally recalled more episodic memories in the imaginal condition. Although the predicted main and interaction effects of imagery were not significant, limited support for the mediational hypothesis was found in the form of a correlation between recall of instructionally relevant episodes and score on the posttest. Deep processors tended to perform well on the posttests and elaborative processors tended to perform poorly. Implications for episodic memory in classroom instructional research and practice are discussed in light of the findings from all three studies.



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