spiral curricula & elaboration theory

by Paul Maharg on 10/06/2005

Actually, the spiral curriculum is close in concept to Reigeluth’s ‘elaboration theory’ – see English, R.E. & Reigeluth, C.M. (1996). Formative research on sequencing instruction with the elaboration theory. Educational Technology Research & Development, 44(1), 23-42; Hoffman, S. (1997). Elaboration theory and hypermedia: Is there a link? Educational Technology, 37(1), 57-64.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

1 metwaly saber September 2, 2005 at 14:36

elaboration theory


2 paul maharg September 6, 2005 at 18:20

Yes, this is interesting Metwaly. Thanks for the references — haven’t come across the Hoffmann reference, which I must read. Whether or not Reigeluth was consciously following Bruner’s original conception of the spiral curriculum (The Process of Education, 1960 was the first reference, I think), it’s clear that his work and that of Stein shows in detail how the curriculum thus envisaged could be micro-organised. Sometimes I wonder, though, how much Bruner and other early advocates of the spiral curriculum would agree with the quite highly organised structures of simple > complex, and abstract principle > concrete example that Reigeluth and others advocate. I thought that Bruner’s original concept of spiralling was built around the idea of cognition preceding perception, therefore the re-visiting of knowledge that’s involved in spiralling is a process of increasing knowledge-sophistication about the same objects; and it may be that Reigeluth has taken, or been taken by others, to be advocating a more linear approach?


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