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Elaboration Theory

According to elaboration theory (ET), the way instructional content is organized has an effect on learning. Based on cognitive psychology, the theory provides a set of guidelines for organizing instruction to maximize student learning. In contrast to common parts-to-whole sequences, such as hierarchical and procedural sequences, ET recommends holistic sequences to foster the formation of stable cognitive structures. A zoom lens is a simple yet effective analogy to understand how the theory works. From the perspective of a person visiting an art gallery, there are multiple possible views of a painting:

Wide-angle view: First, the person looks at the whole painting from a distance, sees the primary parts of the painting, and understands the major relationships among those parts.

Zoomed-in view: Next, the person chooses any one ...

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