Int. J. of Learning Technology   »   2013 Vol.8, No.4



Title: Using reflective text to improve qualitative physics tutoring


Authors: Arthur Ward; Diane Litman


Department of Biomedical Informatics, University of Pittsburgh, 5607 Baum Boulevard Pittsburgh, PA 15206, USA
Learning Research and Development Center, University of Pittsburgh, 3939 O'Hara Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15260, USA


Abstract: In this work, we test whether administering an abstractive/reflective reading after physics tutoring will improve learning. The reading helps students compare similar aspects of previously tutored physics problems, and to abstract their commonalities. Either a non-reflective control reading, or one of two reflective readings with differing levels of textual cohesion, was administered to 99 students after tutoring with the Itspoke qualitative physics tutoring system. We found that reflective/abstractive text significantly improved learning for students with a moderate amount of motivation. We further found that high cohesion improved learning, but only for students with a sufficiently high level of prior knowledge. We interpret these results to mean that a reflective/abstractive text can usefully improve learning after tutoring with a physics tutoring system. However, this intervention may be most useful for students with low enough motivation not to spontaneously reflect, but not so low that they will not reflect when prompted.


Keywords: intelligent tutoring systems; ITS; reflection; cohesion; reflective text; qualitative physics tutoring; physics education; learning improvement.


DOI: 10.1504/IJLT.2013.059133


Int. J. of Learning Technology, 2013 Vol.8, No.4, pp.404 - 425


Available online: 04 Feb 2014



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