Baker, M. A., Brown, N. R., Blackburn, J. J., & Robinson, J. S. (2014). Determining the Effects that the Order of Abstraction and Type of Reflection have on Content Knowledge When Teaching Experientially: An Exploratory Experiment. Journal of Agricultural Education, 55(2), 106-119. doi: 10.5032/jae.2014.02106


The purpose of this experimental study was to determine the effects of order of abstraction and type of reflection on student knowledge acquisition. Students were assigned randomly to one of four treatment combinations in the completely randomized 2x2 design which included either abstraction prior to or directly after an experience, and either reflection-in-action or reflection-on-action. A Lab-AidsĀ® inquiry-based kit, centered on the principles of biofuels, served as the content for the treatment. The findings of this study indicate that order of abstraction does not have a statistically significant effect on knowledge acquisition scores, but that reflection-in-action did have a statistically significant effect on increasing students' knowledge of the selected biofuel concepts. It is recommended that teachers at both the secondary and university level focus on effective strategies of reflection-in-action to draw deeper, more enduring learning from students' experiences in agricultural education. The study was exploratory in nature, and recommendations were suggested for full-scale replications of the study.

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