This post is a response to Activity 2.4, Unit 2, H808 Reflection and learningDeep learning – the type of learning that goes beyond ‘the learning in which learners try just to retain information without creating new links with …new ideas’ (Moon 2005) is supported by reflection. The process of reflection (going back to an experience and linking it to a theory or new idea) and presentation of reflection (deciding how to represent or use that new knowledge) requires the writer to make active decisions about both these aspects.
We also tend to reflect, in a common sense way, on things that are complicated and for which there no real answers. I find that the process of reflection can often be uncomfortable and disorienting, but for that reason I think it is a valuable habit for the student to cultivate both as an attitude and as a practice.I found interesting Moon’s assertion that reflection also contains the conditions for (deep) learning by slowing down learning and allowing for time for reprocessing and also enabling ownership of learning since learners are involved in the creation of their own learning. Blogging, therefore, has particular affordances to support reflective writing:
- Blogging is foremost a personally owned tool where the medium (use of I,) enables the message. This may make students unaccustomed to using ‘I’ in other forms of professional writing comfortable with reflection in this environment.
- A blog invites comments and a readership that can lead to idea development, peer review, conversation and deeper learning through shared and collaborative understanding, yet the control of the blog is still in the hands of the individual who has created this learning interaction. Blog owners can usually choose how they want to interact with readers in this medium.
- While setting up a blog is quick, free and relatively easy, the act of writing a blog usually necessitates a time consuming process of thinking, planning, pondering, deciding, procrastinating (that’s me!) and then composition. It’s interesting that we also use the idea of ‘live blogging’ which is a quick ‘put it down as it happens’ approach, but distinguish it from (default) blogging which is the more reflective and considered sort.
- Blogs can help a writer develop an authentic online reflective identity. I was interested in reading Creme’s (2005) discussions of how the notion of an ‘honest’ reflective writer has its limitations since even an ‘I’ is likely to be constructed depending on the audience and purpose of any reflective writing, especially any reflection that has been ‘mandated’. Yet this may be more authentic since the writer is using I, will need to be consistent over a series of blog posts as this identity construction continues so a level of honesty, consistency and self-knowledge may emerge. The blog is a personally owned tool, so the identity of the writer over time (in order to be authentic) has the potential to develop a consistent voice.
- The advantage of a blog, where posts are laid out chronologically, can help to see development of ideas, of thoughts and reflections over time, which is also suited to the process of reflection.
Regarding assessment and reflection, I am not sure I would want my reflections on my blog assessed, as discussed in Crème since what I write as reflection at any point in time is particular reflection which should be free to express doubts, failings, mistakes – all of which are a stage in a journey. I would write differently for assessment than if I were writing for personal self development (as I do in this blog). I do however want my reflections to ‘count’ in some way, and Crème’s suggestions that the reflective writing should be drawn upon for a new piece of presentational work for summative assessment appears to be a good compromise.References Crème, P. (2005) ‘Should student learning journals be assessed?’, Assessment and Evaluation in Higher Education, vol. 30, no. 3, pp. 287–96.
Moon, J. (2005) ‘Guide for busy academics no. 4: learning through reflection’ (online),The Higher Education Academy.