Individual Difference Research

In the nineties... The work of Cronbach, Snow, Scardamalia, and Bereiter set the stage for the learning orientation research. The learning orientation research provides individual difference constructs (transforming, performing, conforming, resistant learners) that reveal the very dominant power of emotions and intentions on guiding and managing cognitive processes (emotions, intentions, and social factors are recognized and no longer demoted to a secondary role). Research in neurology, sports psychology, child development, advertising and marketing is providing additional evidence about personalization (i.e, tracking, measuring, supporting, and reporting individual needs).  
    It is with a better understanding of the structure and nature of the complex relationships between learning or performance orientations and interactions that we can return with more advanced research and theoretical construct foundations to Cronbach's original hypothesis that we should find "for each individual the treatment to which he can most easily adapt." And, "ultimately we should design treatments, not to fit the average person, but to fit groups of students with particular aptitude patterns.” The evidence suggests that the best instructional solutions require a whole-person perspective. This perspective recognizes the dominant influence of conative, affective, and social factors on learning and the dynamic relationships between these factors and cognitive processing. This perspective also identifies key aggregate patterns that show how individuals use, guide, or manage cognitive ability.

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Created by the Successful Learning Research Team.
Some projects were funded in part by the Society for Technical Communication
(STC Research Award, 1997-1998).
Updated June 2000 by Margaret Martinez & The Training Place.
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Copyright Margaret Martinez 1996-2000