Journal of Writing Research vol:accepted for publication issue:nog geen DOI
This study extends previous research on observational learning in writing. It was our objective to enhance students’ motivation and learning in an academic writing course on research synthesis writing. Participants were 162 first-year college students who had no experience with the writing task. Based on Bandura’s Social Cognitive Theory we developed two videos. In the first video a manager (prestige model) elaborated on how synthesizing information is important in professional life. In the second video a peer model demonstrated a five-step writing strategy for writing up a research synthesis. We compared two versions of this video. In the explicit-strategy-instruction-video we added visual cues to channel learners’ attention to critical features of the demonstrated task using an acronym in which each letter represented a step of the model’s strategy. In the implicit-strategy-instruction-video these cues were absent. The effects of the videos were tested using a 2x2 factorial between-subjects design with video of the prestige model (yes/no) and type of instructional video (implicit versus explicit strategy instruction) as factors. Four post-test measures were obtained: task value, self-efficacy beliefs, task knowledge and writing performances. Path analyses revealed that the prestige model did not affect students’ task value. Peer-mediated explicit strategy instruction had no effect on self-efficacy, but a strong effect on task knowledge. Task knowledge – in turn – was found to be predictive of writing performance.