Structured reflection breaks embedded in an online course – effects on learning experience, time on task and performance

Dominique Verpoorten*, Wim Westera

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


The purpose of this article is to gain an insight into the effects of practicing short, frequent,and structured reflection breaks interspersed with the learning material in a computer-based course. To that end, the study sets up a standardized control trial with two groups of secondary school pupils. The study shows that while performance is not affected by these embedded “reflection rituals,” they significantly impact time on task and perceived learning. The study also suggests that the exposure to such built-in opportunities for reflection modifies the engagement with the content and fosters the claimed readiness for application of a similar reflective approach to learning in other occasions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)606-624
Number of pages19
JournalInteractive LearnIng Environments
Issue number3
Early online date6 May 2014
Publication statusPublished - 2016



  • Reflection
  • reflection breaks
  • pausing
  • learning
  • online
  • experience
  • reflection prompts
  • reflection support
  • online formal learning
  • self-instruction
  • embedded prompts
  • learning dashboard
  • data mirroring
  • student sets the test strategy
  • pausing principle
  • self-assessment
  • feeling of learning
  • metacognitive training
  • Liferay
  • portlets
  • evolutionary psychology
  • time on task

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