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Reflecting on Reflection

August 9th, 2007 by Graham Attwell

I had an interesting exchange of emails this morning with Ben Scoble from Staffordshire University.

Ben had picked up on my list of different skills / competencies for reflection

• Forming an opinion

• Expressing an opinion

• Articulating an opinion

• Justifying an opinion

• Defending an opinion

• Supporting the opinions of others

• Challenging others opinions

• Questioning others opinions

• Seeking clarification of others opinions

• Representing other opinions

• Building on others opinions

• Sorting fact from fiction

Ben says: “Reflection is a particular concern – as it often plays a crucial role in eLearning and developing higher level (deeper) learning – is this an inherent ‘feminine’ skill [or a skill that is easier to hone]?”

He goes on to ask: “So would the lack of knowledge of and/or the inclusion of a framework for engaging in reflection activities – adversely affect male students engaging in eLearning?”

I’m not sure of the answer to this – but suspect that gender does make a difference. But of course it is not just gender. Many individuals do not take easily to reflection (my daughter would be a prime example!). Given the importance of reflection in learning (or at least I think it is) then the inclusion of a framework for reflection would benefit those learners who may be at a disadvantage in this form of learning.

Yesterday I was in Leicester for a training day for the launch of our new e-Portfolio system – Freefolio (lots more about that soon – it is fabulous).

In the morning we ran a hands on session for the e-Portfolio and in the afternoon I ran a workshop on reflection. It was a bit like being hoist with my own petard. For some time I have been berating e-Portfolio ‘experts’ who say how important reflection is in the e-Portfoliod development process – but then have nothing more to say on the subject. I was a little nervous about ‘teaching’ refection. But the workshop was a lot of fun and the participants seemed to enjoy it – and said, at least, they found it useful.

Now I would like to take this forward in tow ways:

a) To develop the framework Ben talks about

b) To develop on line tools / activities to develop competences in reflection.

The only problem is I need some funding – anyone any ideas?

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