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Vol. 16 (2009) No. 3 P 348-376




When one starts to learn a new discipline, it is essential to understand the terminology, to the point where one can use it comfortably across many situations. This study shows some effects of collaborative reflection on such learning, or transfer. We devised a two-year curriculum of teaching cognitive science to lower-division undergraduates, including the term of “schema,” and revised it along with our four-level model of collaborative conceptual change into enriching concrete, hands-on experiences and collaborative reflection. By comparing three sets of curricula, we found that ample experience with reflection yields durable understanding and promotes students' spontaneous use of “schema” in their end-term reports or conversations. Detailed analyses of five students' use over one-and-a-half years showed that one's understanding differed from that of others, but was highly correlated with her or his own preceding understanding. These results imply that ample experience provides a “core” to start one's learning and collaborative reflection makes the diversity of such cores explicit, which propels further constructive interactions that promote each one's deeper understanding and cross-situational learning.

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