Signalling structure in hypertext:
support for the non-native reader

I Text and the non-native reader
Models of reading
The non-native reader
Structures of text
Structures of knowledge
II Hypertext NN reader support
Strategies for NN reader support
Training in text patterns/cues
Training in knowledge structures
Signalling structure in documents
Examples of signal design
A writing structure curriculum
App. 1 An unfolding signal curriculum

Lawrie Hunter

Kochi University of Technology

 2.3 Training in knowledge structures

Then, what are the structures of knowledge (and the structures of text, the genres, which reflect them)? And to what depth need the NN reader know these structures (or know of them)?

A wide variety of knowledge frameworks (typologies of knowledge structures) have been proposed in recent research. A few provocative examples are described briefly below; each is suitable for some combination of reader background, reader maturity and the kinds of text the reader is learning to read. The balance of manageable simplicity and sufficient detail of typology varies greatly among these frameworks.

Meyer (1985) proposes a set of five 'top-level' rhetorical structures in order to systematize the structure of the major expository text genres: collection or list, description, causal, comparative, problem/solution

In his extended discussion of the use of "key graphics" to support reading comprehension, Mohan (1986) proposed a knowledge structure (reflecting a parallel structure necessarily found in language) composed of three theoretical structures paired with three practical structures:

Description - Classification; Sequence - Principles; Choice - Evaluation

Jonassen (1996), in his chapter on semantic networking (also known as concept mapping), uses a more open, visual approach to knowledge structuring.

Systemic functional linguistics, for example Butt (1995), identifies "text types" by function: narrative, recount, information report, discussion, explanation, exposition, procedure.

Each text type has certain obligatory or common language structure and knowledge structure elements, and as such constitutes a genre. The systemic functional linguistics approach has been widely implemented into language education in Australia.

A number of such structure systems have been proposed, but the important points are that there are such rhetorical structures, and that knowledge structure and language structure recognition are fundamental to text comprehension. How structures/genres are named and categorized is not as important as the reader's awareness of ability to recognize various genre and anticipate the knowledge structure represented by each.