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A comparison of behavioral fluency with other learning methods for their impact upon higher -order thinking

April Bray Haberyan, University of Nebraska - Lincoln


Today, there is a growing pressure for institutions of higher learning to produce graduates who are capable of higher-order thinking. As a result, instructors are expected to utilize teaching methods that promote more than rote recall of factual knowledge. Higher-order thinking has been associated with six strategies: mastery-based learning, behavioral fluency, automaticity, overlearning, metacognition, and supplemental instruction. To date, there has been very little empirical research comparing these methods in terms of their ability to improve application and retention of class information in college students. This study was comprised of two experiments, which compared the different teaching methods for their impact upon student learning. The results from experiment I indicated that students in the overlearning condition performed better than the students in the mastery condition in terms of class exam scores. The results from experiment II indicated that students in the fluency condition performed equally as well as students in the supplemental learning strategies condition and better than the students in the mastery, overlearning, and control conditions. When the students' attitudes were evaluated, it appeared that fluency resulted in more negative attitudes when compared to the other learning methods for the first experiment. No differences in student attitudes were observed for the learning methods in the second experiment. These results suggest that the use of a fluency learning method can be effective in certain class settings, however, the use of application questions also appears to be an effective learning method for improving higher-order thinking in college students. ^

Subject Area

Psychology, Social|Education, Educational Psychology|Education, Curriculum and Instruction

Recommended Citation

Haberyan, April Bray, "A comparison of behavioral fluency with other learning methods for their impact upon higher -order thinking" (2003). ETD collection for University of Nebraska - Lincoln. AAI3092548.