Virtual tutoring: An online environment for scaffolding students' metacognitive problem solving expertise

Mohamed El Tahir Osman*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Online learning technologies and virtual learning environments in particular are attracting considerable attention, and are likely to form key strategic aspects of teaching and learning science subjects at the post secondary level. Learners at various levels seem to enjoy the autonomy of gaining access to expertise through online communications and web-based resources. However, simply having access to knowledge without experience does not seem to be sufficient for the development of problem solving expertise and metacognitive control. This study investigated the effects of embedded metacognitive prompts on students' metacognitive awareness, and the effects of virtual tutoring on the development of students' metacognitive problem solving expertise in physics. Virtual tutoring environment in this study can be described as an online environment that consists of different metacognitive scaffolds: expert modelling on digital online video, access to procedural, and self-assessment prompts, and collaborative interaction among teachers and students on a WebCT platform. The results suggest that embedded metacognitive prompts can be used as scaffolds to enhance learners' awareness of their ongoing thinking processes, and the need to plan their course of action and check their accuracy as they progress through any problem solving task. It also appears that externalizing the expert's mental activities to the students can be an effective scaffolding strategy in guiding students' attention to specific aspects of their learning processes, and engaging them in self-assessment of their own learning and understanding.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3-12
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Turkish Science Education
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2010


  • Expertise
  • Metacognitive Problem Solving
  • Online Environment
  • Scaffolding
  • Virtual Tutoring

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Applied Psychology


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