It is argued in this article that user actions need to be monitored to understand what has happened during the learning process. Monitoring on its own is not enough; user actions also need to be controlled to some degree so that users can receive the guidance they need to help them to the successful completion of the learning tasks in CALL programs. To verify this empirically, a study was conducted to investigate both learning outcome and learning process of two versions of a Computer Assisted Vocabulary Learning program for Chinese learners. In one version, the user actions were controlled and guided; in the other, the user had complete freedom in deciding how to use the program. The results show that both the learning outcome and the learning process were more satisfactory in the controlled condition than in the uncontrolled condition. Copyright © 2007 Taylor & Francis.