The effect of situated learning on knowledge transfer of students with and without disabilities in inclusive classrooms : a meta-analysis
The purpose of this meta-analysis was to examine the effect of situated learning on the academic performance of students with and without disabilities in inclusive general education classrooms. While previous research has reported the overall effectiveness of situated learning, relatively few studies have been conducted to investigate how situated learning influences students' academic performances in inclusive settings where students with and without disabilities work together. Moreover, although the main interest of situated learning is about how to apply basic knowledge and skills to an authentic context and, beyond this, how to transfer them into a similar but novel situation in everyday life, little has been known about its effectiveness on students' achievement in terms of knowledge transfer. In this study, a meta-analytical statistical method was employed to investigate the effect of situated learning, and its effectiveness was examined according to the three levels of knowledge transfer (knowledge acquisition, application, and transfer). A total of 19 situated-learning studies, both published and unpublished, were analyzed. Each primary study's effect sizes were calculated using Hedges' g with the bias correction and then combined into the three weighted average effect sizes regarding the levels of knowledge transfer. This meta-analytic study found that, on all of the levels of knowledge transfer, the situated learning is effective for the learning of students with and without disabilities in inclusive general education classrooms. In the random effects model, the situated instruction produced a weighted mean effect size estimate of 2.049 for knowledge acquisition, 1.836 for knowledge application, 1.185 for knowledge transfer. In addition, the percentage of students with special needs in general education classrooms had a negative influence on the effectiveness of situated learning. However, the pattern of results also showed that the proportion of students with special needs in general education classrooms does not influence as greatly the learning of knowledge transfer as it does knowledge acquisition or application.