An investigation into effectiveness of different reflective learning strategies for learning operational software

Chorng Shiuh Koong*, Tzu I. Yang, Chao Chin Wu, Han Tai Li, Chien-Chao Tseng

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Skill certification promotion is one of the main policies facilitated by the technological and vocational education, where application software instruction is regarded as the core curriculum to foster skill certification. With its close connection with problem-solving learning, application software instruction relies heavily on hands-on operation incorporating information technology to adequately unravel the challenges where living or working application is simulated as problem situations. According to Dewey (1963) and Edwards (1996), the process of reflection is characterized by the inference course where learners attempt to analyze and solve the problems. However, more evidence is needed to decide what reflective learning strategies are effective for students' learning. Application software operation is categorized as procedural knowledge. Repeated drills are requisite to reach the ultimate goal of spontaneous reaction without thinking. Features of CAL system offer a well-rounded environment to meet the demands. The purposes of this study were 1) to investigate how different reflective learning strategies can affect learning effectiveness of operational application software acquisition, 2) to identify effective learning strategies and to incorporate the CAL approach with instructional practices to foster learning performance. Aiming at characteristics of operational software, this study proposed operational software learning strategy theory model based on reflective learning and Adaptive Character of Thought-Rational (ACT-R) model theories. The proposed model modified the reflective learning theory and added cyclical loop into CAL to fit for operational software instruction. The CAL system is developed and incorporated into learning activities of reflective learning theory strategy model by collecting frequent operation errors made in the first-year experiment as the source drill items. This study is conducted in a two-year sequence. A total of 172 second-grade students was recruited from a vocational high school. Different reflective learning strategies, individual and group reflective learning strategy, are implemented on two experimental groups in the first year. CAL strategy is later added into the experimental groups in the second year. The results suggest that group reflective learning strategy can enhance learning effectiveness of the holistic and medium-score group students. When reflective learning strategy is incorporated with CAL, in addition to maintaining the first-year learning effectiveness, learning effectiveness of the holistic and low-score group students can be benefited by individual reflective learning strategy. Furthermore, reflective learning incorporating with CAL has greater learning effectiveness than the learning without CAL.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)167-186
Number of pages20
JournalComputers and Education
StatePublished - 1 Mar 2014


  • ACT-R model
  • Computer-assisted learning (CAL)
  • Learning effectiveness
  • Operational software
  • Reflective learning strategies


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