Reflection is an important part of learning, allowing us to process and comprehend new information, taking time to consider it in light of our experience, which helps us to create meaning and knowledge that can be applied to improve performance. In this modern world of ‘information at your fingertips’, how can your Learning Management System (LMS) help you to incorporate reflective learning in your education programs?
Professionals are always on-the-go and increasingly ‘always connected’ to work and social pursuits via the internet on their smartphones. Where once we may have used a bus journey or flight to muse over something we learned, nowadays we are more than likely interrupted by a message, newsflash, or notification, if we are not already using the smartphone to access online courses, news, or other information.
In a recent New York Times article, The End of Reflection, the author looks at the negative impact of the ever-present smartphone in reducing time spent on individual reflection. The article notes that speedy access to information is of the utmost importance to adults, but this can distract us from the act of reflection. The newest cloud-based and mobile responsive LMS solutions provide fast access to education resources anytime, anywhere, and your LMS can support learning offline, but how do we also ensure that our professional learners also take the time to process and apply the learning they have accessed online?
[wbt_section_heading title="3 Ways to Facilitate Reflective Learning with your LMS"]
Reflective Learning can be an individual or social practice. Individual reflection allows the learner to process information in relation to their own experience and social reflection enables the learner to compare their understanding and actions to those of other people, whether they are peers, or an expert, such as the instructor or a mentor.
The modern LMS has many features that enable it to support both individual and social reflection. Here are 3 ways an LMS for professional learners facilitates reflective learning.
One of the most common forms of individual reflection is to keep a learning log, journal or diary. As the learner progresses through a learning pathway or course, completing modules or individual lessons, they could be required to regularly submit a reflective journal, which enables them to describe what they have learned, and to reflect on what impact their learning will have on their career, or day-to-day professional work. In order for this to be successful, the journal needs to be completed in a regular and timely fashion. The scheduling capabilities of the LMS can help to facilitate this process, by setting submission deadlines, or allowing the instructor to send reminders to the student. Another way to facilitate reflective journaling would be to use a discussion forum for submission, which would also enable reflective discussion of the journal entries by the learner and instructor.
Assessment and Surveys
Administering tests and quizzes requires learners to revisit and evaluate the information they have learned. A good LMS will provide a diverse selection of question types and assessment modes, which can provide learners the flexibility to revisit the material or to re-evaluate their answers before submitting, following reflection. Another LMS tool which may support reflection would be the pre- and post-learning surveys. These can help to establish a baseline level of the learner’s understanding before undertaking a course, and then help the learner to reflect on what they have learned following completion of the course. Designing assessments or surveys with questions that prompt students to reveal their insights will encourage reflective practice. Reflective practice can also be supported informally by providing supplementary materials, such as a guide document to help instructors, mentors, or learners reflect on their achievement of the course learning objectives.
Social Learning and Reflection
Many LMS are incorporating support for social learning including discussion forums, group learning, and the ability to share online learning content with external social networks. Whether formally or informally incorporated into the course, encouraging and rewarding student participation in discussion of concepts facilitates social reflection, processing and understanding of the course content. Newer features like digital badges and leaderboards can allow learners to share their knowledge or skills with their peers, identify others who may have more knowledge or experience of a specific topic to share, and enable learners to compare their achievements to others, facilitating reflection on how well they have mastered a topic.
Some organizations are also using the LMS to facilitate mentor-mentee relationships, especially for learners who must incorporate a practical or experiential element in their training or certification programs. The LMS can facilitate reflective learning in this relationship by enabling private discussion forums between mentor and mentee or scheduling online or face to face meetings for a more formal interview to prompt and guide reflection by the learner.
For more ideas on how to incorporate reflective practice in online learning, you might find this article from eLearn Magazine interesting: How to Apply Reflective Practice When Teaching Online
Even in this fast-paced, always-on-the-go modern society it is possible to ensure that we take time to process, reflect and understand new concepts from online learning to improve our professional performance - all with a little help from your learning management system.
To see how the content administration and social learning features of TopClass LMS could help your organization to encourage reflective learning to improve your learners' performance in their professional careers, request a demo today: