Distributing vs. blocking learning questions in a web-based learning environment

Research output: Contribution to journalResearch articleContributedpeer-review



Effective studying in web-based learning environments (web-LEs) requires cognitive engagement and demands learners to regulate their learning activities. One way to support learners in web-LEs is to provide interactive learning questions within the learning environment. Even though research on learning questions has a long tradition, there are many open questions on how to design and implement the questions in order to help students to master the demands of web-based learning. This article presents findings from an experiment which deals with the different ways of implementing sets of learning questions in web-LEs. The study investigates whether different distributions of learning questions have an effect on learning activities and achievement. Participants worked on 16 learning questions either distributed within the learning environment in a fine-grained way (1 learning question after each of the 16 subchapters), in a medium-grained way (4 learning questions after every 4 subchapters), or presented blocked (8 learning questions after every 8 subchapters). Blocked presentation of learning questions resulted in less achievement compared to medium-grained and fine-grained distribution of the same learning questions. Learning process data indicates different learning activities in the 3 groups. Participants of the medium-grained group reported more monitoring of their learning process. The results are discussed concerning possible implications for instructional design and future research in the field of web-LEs.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)397-416
Number of pages20
Journal Journal of educational computing research
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 4 Jan 2015

External IDs

ORCID /0000-0002-4280-6534/work/127535408
ORCID /0000-0002-1972-1567/work/141545659