Supporting learning with weblogs in science education: A comparison of blogging and hand-written reflective writing with and without prompts

Dominik Petko, Nives Egger, Marc Graber


The goal of this study was to compare how weblogs and traditional hand-written reflective learning protocols compare regarding the use of cognitive and metacognitive strategies for knowledge acquisition as well as learning gains in secondary school students. The study used a quasi-experimental control group design with repeated measurements comparing weblogs and text-based reflective journals both with and without prompts. During a learning unit on the subject of climate change, students were assigned one to four experimental groups with different writing assignments and one control group that did not keep a learning protocol of any kind. Comparisons of pretest and posttest scores indicate that students in the experimental groups collectively outperform the students in the control group. Looking closer however, only the groups writing with the guidance of prompts showed better learning gains, while groups writing without prompts did not show significant differences when compared to the control group. There were no differences with respect to learning gains between groups writing weblogs and those writing with paper and pencil when supported by prompts. Without prompts however, students in the paper-and-pencil writing condition performed better than students writing blogs. For blogging students, prompts seemed to be more important to achieve greater learning gains. In addition, students showed greater use of cognitive and metacognitive strategies when guided by prompts. Also here, there were no differences with regard to the medium of writing. Both cognitive and metacognitive strategies were predictors of learning gains. In conclusion, the use of prompts can be considered as important scaffold when writing weblogs or paper based learning protocols.


Weblogs, learning protocols, prompts, learning strategies, climate change

Full Text:


 This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.