“Reflection is …

“Reflection is an essential feature of a deep approach to learning. It is inappropriate and unnecessary on a course whose aim is to impart a large corpus of information for students to digest and reiterate on the exam at the end.
Reflection seems to be a part of the kinds of learning in which learners try to understand material that they encounter and to relate it to what they already knew. Relating new material to what one knows already may mean reflecting on what one knows and modifying it (deep approach). Reflection will also be involved in the process of representing learning – when, for example, a learner’s understanding is tested in a format that demands reprocessing of the ideas (e.g. an essay). It is less or uninvolved in an approach that requires reiteration of the responses in the same format as the original knowledge (Moon 2005)”

Quote from: Stefani, Lorraine, Robin Mason, and Chris Pegler. The Educational Potential of E-portfolios: Supporting Personal Development and Reflective Learning. Routledge, 2007. p 61 reference to 

Moon, Jenny. Learning through Reflection. Guide for Busy Academics. Higher Education Academy, 2005. http://www.heacademy.ac.uk/resources/detail/resource_database/id69_guide_for_busy_academics_no4_moon.
When we hear the words deep and surface learning there is an implicit reaction that deep is good and surface is bad. In the discussions we had years ago in my Pg Cert – Course (re)Design module, there was a lively debate about this and the conclusion  was that there are some courses and topics that will rightly focus on surface learning and large amounts of content transmission – the trick being that they may serve as an early part of a program which then goes onto to build deep learning. For a program level portfolio this does raise the question of to what degree ever course should reflect – there’s not an easy answer. I’m torn between thinking some courses might want or need to be  ‘just’ content and even if a course is content focused  the student might usefully be prompted reflect on how and why that fits into the program.  

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