• Encouraging Reflective practice through the introduction of e-portfolios: a comparison of the postgraduate and undergraduate experience.

      Maiden, Barbara; Kinsey, Susan (University of Wolverhampton, 2006)
      Encouraging students to reflect on their learning and life experiences and making sense of these reflections has been widely reported in the literature as problematic (Barclay 1997, Stalker et al 2001). Pedagogic responses aimed at deepening reflection have often encouraged the use of learning journals to make sense of theory in the light of students’ practice. There is evidence that students find it difficult to engage in this process in anything but a superficial and cursory way (Betts 2004). This innovation project stemmed from a desire to utilise the newly developed electronic portfolio, Pebblepad, as a mechanism for encouraging a more systematic and structured approach to reflection thereby assisting in overcoming the barriers to engagement. The aim of this project was to introduce, trial and evaluate the tools offered by the e portfolio system to two cohorts of first year part-time postgraduate HR Diploma students in the encouragement of reflective practice. In reality this introduction proved to be problematic as described later in this report, hence the scope of the project was widened to include the experiences of first year cohorts of undergraduates studying for BA Honours in Human Resource Management and Business. This has provided the opportunity for valuable comparison of the experiences at post and undergraduate level. Prior to this project students would submit a summative piece of work for assessment which was often constructed in retrospect rather than being indicative of continuous review and sense making of the learning experience. The possibilities for formative and timely feedback provided by Pebblepad appeared to yield a rich foundation for encouraging more critical reflection. The introduction of the e portfolio for the postgraduate student cohorts was embedded within module HR 4059 Workbased Project and Personal Development. Students are required as part of their assessment on their individual project, to reflect and analyse their experiences of undertaking research, developing themselves and making sense of academic ideas over the course of the year. The undergraduate students studying HR 1007 Learning and Development are asked to reflect on their learning experiences during a Semester and comment on their progress as independent learners demonstrated through a piece of reflective writing. The two modules therefore have similarities in requiring sense to be made of a variety of experiences over time.