Prior knowledge can help or hinder learning. Prior knowledge is the lens through which we view
all new information. If that lens is inaccurate, incomplete, or naïve, it can interfere with or distort the
integration of incoming information (Clement, 1982; NRC, 2000). Consequently, it is important for us to
know and address the misconceptions students hold, and to connect new information to accurate
information they already possess.
2. Motivation generates, directs, and sustains learning behavior. Motivation influences the amount of
time and effort students devote to learning and supports their continued engagement when difficulties
arise. Motivation may be influenced by a number of factors, such as students’ interests, goals, and
expectations (Hidi and Renninger, 2004; Bandura, 1989; Carver and Scheier, 1990), students’ beliefs
about learning (Schommer, 1994, Dweck, 2002), and emotional experiences surrounding the learning
context. In addition, students learn best when the classroom environment provides a balance between
support and challenge (Kuh, 2005). Finally, knowledge itself can be a powerful motivator – the
more students know, the more they want to know


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