Practice is an essential means by which humans and animals engage in cognitive activities. Intelligent tutoring systems, with a crucial component of modelling learners’ cognitive processes during learning and optimizing their learning strategies, offer an excellent platform to investigate students’ practice-based cognitive processes. In related studies, modelling methods for cognitive processes have demonstrated commendable performance. Furthermore, researchers have extended their investigations using decision-theoretic approaches, such as a partially observable Markov decision process (POMDP), to induce learning strategies by modelling the students’ cognitive processes. However, the existing research has primarily centered around the modelling of macro-level instructional behaviors rather than the specific practice selection made by the students within the intricate realms of cognitive domains. In this paper, we adapt the POMDP model to represent relations between the student’s performance on cognitive tasks and his/her cognitive states. By doing so, we can predict his/her performance while inducing learning strategies. More specifically, we focus on question selection during the student’s real-time learning activities in an intelligent tutoring system. To address the challenges on modelling complex cognitive domains, we exploit the question types to automate parameter learning and subsequently employ information entropy techniques to refine learning strategies in the POMDP. We conduct the experiments in two real-world knowledge concept learning domains. The experimental results show that the performance of the learning strategies induced by our new model is superior to that of other learning strategies. Moreover, the new model has good reliability in predicting the student’s performance. Utilizing an intelligent tutoring system as the research platform, this article addresses the modelling and strategy induction challenges of practice-based cognitive processes with intricate structures, aiming to tutor students effectively. Our work provides a new approach of predicting the students’ performance as well as personalizing their learning strategies.