The Effects of Facilitation on Cognitive Restructuring in an Online Learning Environment

Shujen L. Chang
University of Houston-Clear Lake


This study compared the effects of system-initiated (low-level) facilitation with that of facilitator-initiated plus system-initiated (high-level) facilitation on cognitive restructuring and learning achievement. Graduate students participated in facilitated online discussion within a web course for one semester. This study found no significant effects by employing an online facilitator to provide extra facilitation in addition to the system-initiated facilitation. This finding suggests that well-designed system-initiated facilitation in cognitive restructuring may be sufficient for effective online learning. This study also found a significant correlation between cognitive restructuring and learning achievement, which confirms the importance of facilitating cognitive restructuring for effective online learning (Ausubel, 1963a, 1963b; Piaget, 1980; Vygotsky, 1978). This finding suggests that creating online interaction for facilitating cognitive restructuring should be incorporated into online pedagogy for optimizing online learning effectiveness.

About the Author(s)...

Shujen L. Chang is an Assistant Professor of Instructional Technology in the School of Education at the University of Houston-Clear Lake and can be contacted at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . Dr. Chang's areas of research include cognition and instruction, instructional systems design, and online learning.

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