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Field Dependence-Independence and Computer-based Instruction in Geography
Research on the cognitive style field dependence-independence establishes its influence on learning and students' outcomes across academic disciplines and at all levels of schooling. Field dependent learners generally perform less well than field independent individuals in most instructional environments. The consequences of cognitive style differences have not been thoroughly pursued by geography educators, and field dependent learners are generally disadvantaged. Review of literature suggests that field dependent learners may perform well in hypermedia-based environments configured to support their learning needs. This study presented geography students with a computer program that contained jigsaw puzzles made from maps and randomly varied the type of interactivity available to learners when solving the puzzles. Field dependent learners were expected to solve the puzzles more quickly and accurately when they were able to interact with the jigsaw puzzle. The interactive treatments provided by the program did not improve the performance of field dependent individuals as expected.