An Approach to Analyzing the Role and Structure of Reflective Dialogue

In IJAIED 11 (3): "Part I of the Special Issue on Analysing Educational Dialogue Interaction "

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Several intelligent tutoring systems contain modules that support reflection after practice exercises. However, there is very little research on reflective dialogue and its relation to dialogue during problem solving that can guide this effort. The approach to analyzing educational dialogue described in this paper was developed to address this problem. Using statistical and machine learning methods, we compared the frequency and structure of speech acts by avionics students and experts during practice exercises with speech acts during a postpractice reflective discussion (PPR). There were several differences. For example, the percentage of student requests for explanations about how the electronic system works and of self-explanations was higher during PPR than during problem solving. We also investigated the relationship between when a misconception was addressed—during problem solving, during post-practice reflection, or distributed between the two phases—and whether a misconception was eliminated. Misconceptions were more likely to be resolved if they were addressed during problem solving and PPR than during problem solving alone. These results suggest that PPR can play an important role in instructing students in the conceptual knowledge underlying strategic tasks, and hence support the inclusion of reflective activities in intelligent tutoring systems.