Robert Johnson


Cochran, Kathryn

Committee Member

McDevitt, Teresa

Committee Member

Pugh, Kevin

Committee Member

Whinery, Barbara


Educational Psychology


University of Northern Colorado

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Greeley (Colo.)


University of Northern Colorado

Date Created





241 pages

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Born digital


The present study was conducted to investigate some of the practical implications of conceptual integration theory for educators. This research was a mixed-methods study exploring how improvements in understanding--learning--(as measured by a selected-response assessment) are reflected in changes in learner language (described in terms of conceptual integration patterns). After a pretest with open-response and selected-response prompts, two groups of young adult participants viewed different videos of a slightly different review lesson in genes, genetics, and heredity, the difference lying in two different metaphor conditions: the experimental group was shown a more "metaphor-rich" version of the lesson using two classic metaphors about the topic. Both groups then took somewhat elaborated posttests to provide data as to what kinds of conceptual integration processes may have been in use by the participants as they processed, learned, and communicated their understanding of the instructional content. Results were compared to determine if the instructional metaphors bore on patterns of learning and understanding as described by the conceptual integration model. The different metaphor conditions were not shown to have been significantly different in their respective effects on participant learning; however, the broad gains across all pre-post quantitative results suggested real learning among the participants. This learning--or at least the participants' communication about the content domain--was indeed reflected in changes identified by a conceptual integration analysis of the qualitative data. The researcher concluded not only that the conceptual integration model could be used as a guide to improve teaching practices; if the conceptual integration model could account more robustly or subtly for cognitive elements of teaching and learning, it also could be used to refine the language used in the creation and interpretation of assessments, leading to improved validity and reliability at any level of assessment, from teacher-developed classroom assessments to large-scale standardized assessments.

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