Learners always reflect on their learning, whether they learn or act upon that reflection is a different matter.
By keeping a reflective journal, a learner can record their reflections in a journal they will then be able to review their reflections and set themselves targets. They will then be able to improve their performance and succeed on their programme of study.
One of the most obvious places to keep a reflective journal is in a paper journal. However a paper journal requires every journal entry to be handwritten. By placing the journal on the VLE, the learner suddenly has much more choice when it comes to recording their reflections. They can type in text, record an audio file or upload a video. The choice allows learners to record their reflections on their studies at a time and place to suit them. If they want to quickly type something up they can, if they want to quickly record something using a mobile phone, they can and upload later.
Using a VLE doesn’t stop learners handwriting their reflective journal, very easy these days to use a TabletPC to write, or more simply, write it out on paper, photograph it and upload. Digital cameras and most cameraphones are now more than adequate to photograph text and for it to be readable on a screen.
Learners can also tag their journal entries, making them easier to sort and search later.
So why put it on the VLE?
Well reflection can be an individual process, but sometimes learners may want to share their thoughts, and read the thoughts of others. Tutors may want to be included in the process to allow them to better judge progress been made on the course. Using a VLE allows these users to engage with the reflective process.
Another option is to use third party tools and embed them into the VLE, this has the advantage of allowing learners to maintain their reflective learning journal once they have left the college.
Reflection and review of progress is an important part of the learning process, by using technologies like the VLE, we can ensure that the reflection is available to more if required and less likely to be lost or forgotten.