Facilitating Student Learning Through Contextualization
Brief of a paper reviewing the literature on the nature and effectiveness of contextualization as a way to improve outcomes for academically underprepared college students. Two forms of contextualization have been studied: “contextualized” and “integrated” instruction. There is more descriptive work on the contextualization of basic skills than studies with student outcome data. In addition, many studies with quantitative evidence on the effectiveness of contextualization have methodological flaws that limit conclusions. Further, only a small number of studies are with college students. However, despite these problems, contextualization seems to be a promising direction for accelerating the progress of academically underprepared college students. The method of contextualization is grounded in a conceptual framework relating to the transfer of skill and student motivation; practitioners who use it observe positive results, and the available quantitative evidence indicates that it has the potential to increase achievement.
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