ON QUALITATIVE DIFFERENCES IN LEARNING: I—OUTCOME AND PROCESS*
This article is based on a paper delivered at the 1975 Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association.
Summary. This paper describes an attempt to identify different levels of processing of information among groups of Swedish university students who were asked to read substantial passages of prose. Students were asked questions about the meaning of the passages and also about how they set about reading the passages. This approach allows processes and strategies of learning to be examined, as well as the outcomes in terms of what is understood and remembered. The starting point of this research was that learning has to be described in terms of its content. From this point differences in what is learned, rather than differences in how much is learned, are described. It was found that in each study a number of categories (levels of outcome) containing basically different conceptions of the content of the learning task could be identified. The corresponding differences in level of processing are described in terms of whether the learner is engaged in surface-level or deep-level processing.