The University of Melbourne
issotl 2023 poster v1-1.pdf (1.15 MB)

How can we help all students to use reflective practice to navigate transformative learning experiences?

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posted on 2024-03-07, 01:21 authored by Charlotte ClarkCharlotte Clark

This poster was presented at the International Society for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (ISSOTL) conference, 2023 (issotl'23: Context matters).


Incorporation of reflective practice can be a powerful tool to deepen student learning and can help students navigate the troublesome and transformative nature of encountering threshold concepts. We embed scaffolded reflective tasks into an introductory biomedical science subject at a leading Australian university. Students reflect on various aspects of their learning, including subject-specific knowledge and skill development. We noted differences in the quality of student reflections and hypothesized that students who were better able to describe a transformative learning experience would get higher grades overall compared to students less able to describe a transformative learning experience.

We asked students to identify a surprising or troublesome learning moment, to reflect on how this made them feel and explain how they navigated this. We analyzed responses and compared student grades depending on whether or not the reflection described a learning transformation. Most students were unable to clearly articulate a learning transformation (n=36/49, 73.5%). Those who did tended to be able to identify feelings associated with the transformation and identified active learning strategies employed. These students scored higher grades in the subject (86%) compared to the class average (73%). In addition, these students performed better in a specific assessment item that required application of learning to a novel situation (79% compared to 71%).

These data suggest that students who are better able to identify and/or navigate troublesome, transformative learning get higher grades overall. Therefore, even carefully designed, scaffolded reflection activities may not have the same benefits for all students. Using these data and further analyses, we will develop and present a framework to inform curricular developments to help all students gain benefits from reflecting on their learning, navigating transformative learning experiences, and embracing the ‘troublesomeness’ of these experiences.


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