Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Rex Thomas

Second Advisor

Ann Thompson


This study investigated the relative effectiveness of two instructional methods on the recall and transfer of procedural knowledge. The moderating influence of fluid aptitude was examined. An attempt was made to identify the type of cognitive processing induced by the instructional methods. The instructional methods differed in the completeness of support provided for the cognitive processing of procedural knowledge. The high-load method presented complete information about the steps in a procedure, follow by opportunity to practice the correct steps. The low-load method initially presented incomplete information about the steps and forced the learner to actively construct the correct steps by a process of trial, error, and implicit feedback;Based on previous research on transfer of learning and aptitude-treatment interaction, it was hypothesized that the high-load instructional method would be best for immediate recall, but the low-load method would be best for delayed recall and transfer. It was also predicted that the low-load instructional method would promote transfer among learners with lower levels of fluid aptitude but would interfere with the cognitive processing of learners with high fluid aptitude;Data were collected from a sample of first-year university students (randomly assigned to the two treatment groups). Scores on a paper folding test provided a measure of fluid aptitude. In order to minimize the effects of prior knowledge, and to capitalize on the interactive capabilities of the computer for such research, instruction was provided on a computer-based task which involved changing the color configuration of a 3 x 3 square matrix;The results of stepwise regression analysis indicated that the high-load instructional method produced significantly more correct solutions to FAR transfer items than did the low-load treatment, regardless of level of fluid aptitude. The effect of instructional method on NEAR transfer was mediated by level of fluid aptitude: low-load instruction was best for learners with lower fluid aptitude and high-load instruction was best for learners with higher fluid aptitude.



Digital Repository @ Iowa State University,

Copyright Owner

Brenda Mary Sugrue



Proquest ID


File Format


File Size

108 pages