The Impact of a Metacognitive Reflection Component in a Problem-Based Learning Unit
Seifert, Kathryn A.
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This mixed methods dissertation explores the impact of metacognitive support (reflective journal entries and a think-aloud exercise) in a PBL (problem-based learning) unit. While students are developing a solution for a PBL unit they may become occupied solely in solving the problem or task and not take time to fully consider what and how they have learned. This study examined how a metacognitive reflective component in a problem-based learning curriculum aids the learning process. The problem explored in this dissertation is that though problem-based learning may engage students, it is not known to what extent reflection adds to learners? development and application of critical thinking skills such as problem solving. The participant observer taught a problem-based learning unit concurrently with a poetry unit in three secondary senior-level English/language arts classrooms over a six weeks period. Four data sources were analyzed quantitatively: a pre-test and post-test on poetry terms, students? essay scores, and a survey. To determine differences between groups ANCOVA (Analysis of Covariance) was used to analyze the results of the poetry terms pre-test and post-test of the two experimental groups and the control group. MANCOVA (Multivariate Analysis of Covariance) was used to compare the results of the two experimental groups and the control group on the criteria of the essay. MANCOVA was also conducted to compare survey results between the experimental groups and the control group. The ANCOVA and MANCOVA tests used SPSS software. Additionally, qualitative analysis used a constant comparison method to analyze students? journal entries and a think-aloud exercise to provide insights concerning the research questions. The overall findings of this study fail to lend support for the intervention that was examined. The quantitative analysis results were not statistically significant between the two experimental groups and the control group. While the qualitative data sources provided some insights regarding how students learn, the data did not indicate that this type of metacognitive support greatly impacted student learning over the course of this study.