The Effect Of A Growth Mindset On Mastery Goal Orientation, Cognitive Load And Learning Performance: An Experimental Study

20th January 2020 : 12:45 - 14:00

Category: Seminar

Research Group: Quantitative Methods Hub

Speaker: Kate M. Xu, Open University of the Netherlands

Location: Department of Education, Seminar Room D

Convener: Lars-Erik Malmberg

Many large scale, school-based interventions have attempted to improve academic performance through promoting students’ growth mindset, defined as the belief that one’s intellectual ability can increase with practice and time. However, most have shown weak to no effects. A reason for this result could be that relevant learning process-related variables such as cognitive load have not been considered in prior research. In a double blind, randomised controlled experiment, based on 138 secondary school students, the effects of an experimentally induced growth mindset belief were examined during a learning phase, in a classroom setting.

Participants in the growth mindset condition reported a higher mastery goal orientation, perceived a lower intrinsic load and extraneous load, and performed better on retention and transfer tests. Mediation analysis suggested that the effect on transfer could be fully accounted for by changes in cognitive load perceptions. Future interventions could benefit from designs that promote motivational beliefs that reduce intrinsic and extraneous cognitive load perceptions.