Self-access online training as an effective learning environment to promote in-depth reflections in preservice teachers

Research output: Contribution to conferencePapers


1. Objectives
This study tested whether pre-service teachers could benefit from a short self-access online training program rather than a lengthy training program with blended learning (e.g., Krammer et al., 2006) to promote reflection skills in pre-service teachers.

2. Theoretical framework
Online training is regarded as cost-effective (Jung, 2005), but whether it can effectively promote the development of reflection skills, remains unclear. Reflection involves conscious and explicit thinking of the learning process and the outcome of learning and action (Moon, 2007, 2013). Ryan and Ryan’s (2013) teaching and assessing reflective learning model was adopted to categorize reflections in four levels of depth (Table 1). We also include training on classroom observations to generate deeper reflection on teaching performance. Classroom observation is vital in teacher education because pre-service teachers learn to observe and analyse teaching activities (Wragg, 2011). Accordingly, we predicted that pre-service teachers who received online training would produce more reflective and deeper statements (i.e., Reasoning and Reconstructing) than their peers.

3. Methods
This study adopted a mixed-method, quasi-experimental research design to examine the effects of four online training sessions in stimulating reflections and deeper reflection depth levels. The four online training sessions lasted about forty minutes each in two themes: reflective teaching and classroom observation. Participants were asked to write a reflective log after each training session. In addition, an in-depth qualitative dialogue analysis (Hennessy et al., 2016) was used to explore the reflection depths of pre-service teachers’ reflective statements in reflection logs. Table 2 shows the excerpts of qualitative codes with some typical examples.

4. Data sources
The current results were based on 1270 reflective statements found in the 120 reflective logs of 30 pre-service teachers recruited from a teacher education university in northern China. Pre-service teachers were assigned randomly and evenly to two experimental groups in two different training sequences (Reflective Teaching>Classroom Observation or reverse) and one control group without training. The first author and a research assistant did the initial coding of the reflective statements independently before reaching consensus. Finally, descriptive statistics and ANOVA were conducted using SPSS26 to test the hypotheses.

5. Results and conclusions
Means and standard deviations in Table 3 show that the Reporting and Responding reflective statements were most common, and Reconstructive statements were absent, suggesting that the depths of reflection of most pre-service teachers were relatively shallow. Results in Table 4 showed a significant difference among the first three levels of reflection depth (F (2, 27) = 3.68, p<0.05). A Tukey post hoc test (Table 5) confirmed that pr-eservice teachers with reflection training generated significantly more reflective statements, suggesting that the short online training sessions sufficiently stimulated reflections. Results in Table 6 show a significant and robust effect size favouring the experimental groups in stimulating more profound reflective Reasoning statements (F (2, 27) = 10.22, p<0.001), while the results for other reflection depth levels were insignificant.

6. Significance
This study has contributed to designing relevant online learning environment programs to promote reflections in pre-service teachers, especially during the COVID pandemic. Copyright © 2022 AERA.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2022


Wang, Y., & Ko, J. (2022, April). Self-access online training as an effective learning environment to promote in-depth reflections in preservice teachers. Paper presented at American Educational Research Association Annual Meeting (AERA 2022), San Diego, US.


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