Apply Now

Current Students

Helping Students Reflect on Learning

Helping Students Reflect on Learning

As the end of the semester approaches, students are no doubt looking forward to a bit of a break and the sense of accomplishment that comes with successfully completing their courses. They may be looking ahead to the next step of their education orIllustration of person thinking. Text reads: "Helping Students Reflect on learning" simply a break from academic work, but it’s also a good time to pause and look back. When students take time to reflect on their learning in a course, it can deepen their understanding of the material and help connect the material with the course objectives and the practical application of the material.

There are many ways that student reflection can be done. Students can 

  • write or record their reflections.
  • verbally share their reflections with a partner or a group so that their reflections can spark conversation and further connections with the purpose or application of the learning. 
  • choose samples of their work to revise. 
  • create a portfolio that represents their growth. 

Instructors can choose any method that best fits the type of learning going on in the course. 

Regardless of the method you use, a helpful framework for guiding student reflection is the 4Rs framework developed by Mary Ryan and Michael Ryan in their chapter “A Model for Reflection in the Pedagogic Field of Higher Education” from the book Teaching Reflective Learning in Higher Education (1). In this framework, students are asked to report about their experiences, relate their experiences to prior knowledge or skills, reason out connections to other disciplines or perspectives, and restructure their greater understanding by defining how new knowledge gained in the course will guide their future actions or experiences. Working through the 4Rs can help students articulate and reflect on their previous learning and connect that learning to the world around them in a meaningful way. 

Would you like to learn more about incorporating reflection strategies into your course? Contact Phil <philip_tietjen@davidsondavie.edu> or Trudy <trudy_brown@davidsondavie.edu> in the office of Learning Design! 

(1) Ryan, M., & Ryan, M. (2015). A model for reflection in the pedagogic field of higher education. In M. E. Ryan (Ed.), Teaching reflective learning in higher education (pp. 15-27). New York, NY: Springer.