Active Learning In Virtual Environment/Reflective Journals

Activity: #offline/long-term, #individual-work, #feedback, #critical-thinking, #needs-preparation

OutlineEdit

Reflective journals (learning journals) are students’ personal record of the learning process. Students can be asked to write down about what they have learnt during this or another lesson, concrete facts, various matters of the subject. The recordings of the journal can include student’s thoughts, questions about the course content, exam or assignments.[1] Teacher can ask students to submit their journals for feedback. A reflective journal can be in a form of a video, tape or digitally written in a document. The purpose of writing such journals is to help students learn during the process of creating the journal or from the results of it. Moreover, the journal gives an opportunity for a student to assess and review their learning. The process of writing a journal provides a focusing point for students to organize information.[2] Format of writing can typically be informal, however the teacher may set an exact format to follow.

 
Reflective Journals Illustration

Activity arrangementEdit

  • a teacher should assign a limited number of questions or guiding statements for the students to answer.

Ex. of statements:

  1. This topic reminds me of…
  2. I’ve been learning about…
  3. The part I know the most about is…
  4. The part that is the most confusing is…
  5. I’d like to know more about…
  6. Knowing about this topic helps me…
  7. The part that was the newest to me was…[3]
  • students can ask themselves the following questions:

What was the most interesting thing I have read for this topic?

What did I previously think was true, but now know to be wrong?

What have I changed my mind about as a result of this topic?

What is one thing I learned in this topic that I may be able to use in the future?

What am I still unsure about?

What would I like to learn more about?

What issues(s) interested me that I would like to study in more detail?[4]

  • students should write something down every time they learn something new
  • give students feedback on what they have written if necessary

PointersEdit

  • students reflect on new knowledge they learnt in class
  • helps students to learn how to formulate their opinions and perspectives
  • improved writing skills
  • teachers have a better idea of students’ learning progress
  • increased participation in a learning process
  • encourages to use critical thinking skills[5]

How to use this method in online class?Edit

The journals can be written in a digital format in any convenient platform for both students and teachers. Students can create a Google Drive that they can share with their instructor or send via email. Journals can also be submitted into Moodle where teachers can separately add their feedback.

FootnotesEdit

  1. Center for Innovative Teaching and Learning, ‘Reflective journals and Learning Logs’, Northern Illinois University, n.d., received from https://www.niu.edu/citl/resources/guides/instructional-guide/reflective-journals-and-learning-logs.shtml
  2. Professional Development Service for Teachers, ‘Active Learning Methodologies’, n.d., received from https://pdst.ie/sites/default/files/teaching%20toolkit%20booklet%20without%20keyskills_0.pdf
  3. Ibid, note 2
  4. Australian College of Applied Psychology, ‘Assignment types’, n.d., received from https://sls.navitas-professional.edu.au/reflective-or-learning-journal
  5. Charlotte Van Walraven, ‘The benefits of reflective journal writing’, Teaching for Learning @ McGill University, 2017, received from https://teachingblog.mcgill.ca/2017/04/11/the-benefits-of-reflective-journal-writing/