Award Date


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Educational Psychology

First Committee Member

Lisa D. Bendixen

Number of Pages



Research shows that online discussions are often unfocused and without providing much benefit to students' learning outcomes. One of the reasons behind this phenomenon is the lack of or inadequate scaffolding or guidance provided to students when participating on asynchronous discussion boards. The collaborative misconception mapping strategy is a tool that was designed to mediate cognitive and metacognitive processes via feedback provided by peers and a teacher-created concept map that contains intentional conceptual errors; This study evaluated the effects of collaborative misconception mapping as compared with those of a traditional online discussion activity, where students post responses to discussion questions. Subjects were 52 undergraduate students in health sciences statistics classes at a large southwestern urban university; 24 in the misconception mapping group and 29 in the traditional discussion group. The level of meaningfulness of students' discussions using a rubric based on an intentional conceptual change model, and their post-test scores were compared. In addition, utilizing mean scores on the Metacognitive Self-regulation subscale of the Motivated Strategies for Learning Questionnaire (MSLQ), the collaborative misconception mapping strategy's effectiveness for students with low self-regulation skills was investigated. Findings indicate that the misconception mapping strategy outperforms the traditional discussion tool, as it provides a self-regulatory scaffold to students, and improves learning outcomes even for those with low levels of self-regulation. The strategy also enhances the meaningfulness of discussions in terms of their reflection of cognitive and metacognitive processes, and promotes more positive learner perceptions regarding the tool itself. It is recommended that instructors reevaluate their online discussion requirements, consider the negative impact unguided online discussions may have on their students' online learning experience, and provide appropriate cognitive and metacognitive scaffolding for optimal learning outcomes.


Asynchronous; Concept; Concept Maps; Conceptual; Constructed; Constructivism; Discussions; Effects; Errors; Flawed; Intentionally; Maps; Misconceptions; Online; Online Discussions; Self-regulation; Social Conflict Theory; Students

Controlled Subject

Educational psychology

File Format


File Size

1771.52 KB

Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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