Credentials Display

Charles T. Wynn, Sr.

Herman Ray

Liyuan Liu

Charles Wynn is an Associate Professor of History and History Education at Kennesaw State University in Kennesaw, GA.

Herman Ray is an Associate Professor of Statistics and Director of the Center for Statistics and Analytical Research at Kennesaw State University in Kennesaw, GA.

Liyuan Liu is a candidate in the Analytics and Data Science Ph.D. Program at Kennesaw State University in Kennesaw, GA.


Problem-based learning, Postformal Thinking, Metacognition, Learning Communities, First-Year Students


Wynn, Mosholder, & Larsen (2014, 2016) studied the effect of problem-based learning (PBL) on the development of postformal thinking (PFT) skills among first-year learning community (LC) students and attributed the significant PFT gains, in part, to the metacognitive reflection component of their PBL method, recommending it as a way to facilitate PFT skills. The current study tested this relationship by comparing PFT growth of first-year LC students who practiced metacognitive reflection during six PBL activities in their LC course (n = 20) with PFT growth of students who completed the same PBL activities without metacognitive reflection in a control group section of the same LC course (n = 17). T-Test results showed significant pre vs post PFT gains in both sections, but no significant difference of normalized mean gain scores between groups. End of Study Questionnaire comments from students in both groups included similar descriptions regarding the extent to which their thinking skills expanded as a result of their PBL experiences. Results indicated that PFT gains among first-year LC students may be facilitated through modeling and cognitive scaffolding of PFT systems (relativistic and dialectical) during multiple PBL experiences without explicitly identifying and reflecting on the cognitive systems utilized.