Reflective learning with complex problems in a visualization-based learning environment with expert support

Minhong Wang, Bei Yuan, P.A. Kirschner, André William Kushniruk, Jun Peng

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

    23 Citations (Web of Science)
    160 Downloads (Pure)


    Effective learning through problem solving is difficult to realize as problem solving often involves complex processes that are inaccessible to novices. It is important to make the complex process visible to novices and provide them with necessary support throughout the tasks. This study proposes a computer-based learning environment that allows learners to capture their problem-solving process in a visual format for effective thinking and reflection. Moreover, expert support is incorporated to improve self-reflection by allowing learners to identify the difference between their performance and that of the expert. This study adopted a pretest-posttest control group design. The experimental group used the visualization-based learning environment involving expert support, while the control group used the visualization-based learning environment without expert support. Forty-five senior year medical students completed the study with five diagnostic problem-solving tasks in four weeks. The results showed that the inclusion of expert support made the visualization-based reflective learning environment more effective in improving learners’ problem-solving performance, supporting their construction of knowledge from problem-solving tasks, and improving their confidence and satisfaction with the learning experience.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)406-415
    Number of pages10
    JournalComputers in Human Behavior
    Early online date13 Feb 2018
    Publication statusPublished - Oct 2018


    • Computer-based learning environment
    • DEEP
    • DESIGN
    • Deeper learning
    • Deeper learningn
    • Expert support
    • MODELS
    • Problem solving
    • Reflection
    • Visualization


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