Adapting prior knowledge activation: Mobilisation, perspective taking, and learners' prior knowledge

Sandra A. J. Wetzels*, Liesbeth Kester, Jeroen J. G. van Merrienboer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

298 Downloads (Pure)


This study investigates the effects of two prior knowledge activation strategies, namely, mobilisation and perspective taking, on learning. It is hypothesised that the effectiveness of these strategies is influenced by learners' prior domain knowledge. More specifically, mobilisation is expected to be the most effective activation strategy at lower levels of prior knowledge. Mobilisation is a bottom-up oriented strategy that serves a broad stage-setting function. It provides learners with a relevant context in which new information can be integrated, which might be especially beneficial for learners with lower levels of prior knowledge to help them extend their limited knowledge base. As prior knowledge increases, perspective taking is expected to become the most effective strategy for activating learners' prior knowledge. Perspective taking is a top-down oriented strategy that results in the activation of a corresponding schema. This schema guides the selection and processing of information relevant to the schema, which might especially support learners with higher levels of prior knowledge to refine their already elaborated knowledge base. The effectiveness of the activation strategies (in terms of learning task performance) was indeed influenced by learners' prior knowledge in the hypothesised direction.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)16-21
JournalComputers in Human Behavior
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2011


  • Prior knowledge activation
  • Mobilisation
  • Perspective taking
  • Prior knowledge


Dive into the research topics of 'Adapting prior knowledge activation: Mobilisation, perspective taking, and learners' prior knowledge'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this