Utilizing Your LMS to Encourage Student Reflection

Healthcare education requires students to not only learn facts and develop an intellectual framework but also to practice skills and build bridges between knowledge and application. Educators who are struggling to set aside enough time for instruction, exams, and activities may overlook an essential component of the learning process: self-reflection. 

In a previous blog, Methods of Providing Feedback, we discussed the importance of providing students with clear and continual feedback. To effectively apply that feedback, students need dedicated space to reflect and make the connection to actual next steps.  

The Student Reflection Process.

To guide students in self-reflection, educators can use a simple set of questions that apply to a variety of learning experiences. Whether individually or in groups, ask students to answer these three questions: 

  1. What was I trying to achieve?
  2. What went well, and what didn’t go well?
  3. What would I do differently next time?

What was I trying to achieve?

Start by encouraging students to unpack their own thought process. What was their underlying goal during this learning experience? What was their approach to achieving that goal—whether to retain new knowledge or practice a new skill? 

What went well and what didn’t go well?

Next, students should reflect on whether the outcome leads them to alter or to confirm their thinking. Say, for example, a student was attempting to memorize content for an exam. If their approach went well and resulted in a high score, that could confirm the use of the same memorization strategy for the next test. If their approach did not yield the desired results, this is the time to pause, investigate the possible reasons for that, and brainstorm different strategies. 

What would I do differently next time?

The final step is to create an alternative strategy that is clear and specific enough to take action on. Instructors can assist by making sure students understand the core learning objectives, helping to identify the opportunities for improvement, and offering guidance and suggestions on how to approach a similar objective next time. 

How Educational Tools Can Help.

Lastly, educators can utilize learning management systems to encourage student reflection and to track student progress. Software platforms like Leo allow you to incorporate reflection prompts in a number of different ways:

  • Written assignments and quizzes: These can test students on their knowledge and include guided reflection questions that receive credit for completion. 
  • Discussion boards: These forums can prompt students to self-reflect and give them the opportunity to see how their peers are processing the same learning experiences. 
  • Peer and self-evaluations: Similar to the discussion boards, these provide each student the opportunity to assess their own strengths and weaknesses as well as provide constructive feedback to others. 
  • Flipgrid: This tool allows faculty and students to have asynchronous discussions through short video recordings (under 5 minutes). Different topics can be embedded in a Grid so students can easily search for specific discussion threads. Self-reflection topics can be included here for students to complete. 
  • Academic Portrait: Unique to Leo, this tool provides a comprehensive overview of a student’s performance, grades, evaluations and more. The results of self-reflection exercises and other evaluations can be consolidated here and mapped onto a pathway for a particular student’s growth. 

Investing in student reflection can amplify students’ growth in applying their knowledge thoughtfully and overcoming obstacles to learning. To learn more about how Leo can bolster the student feedback and reflection process, contact us today.