Learning Portfolio: An Effective Tool to Enhance Higher Order Cognitive Skills among the Teacher Educators through Reflective Practices
Learning portfolio is relatively a new approach in Sri Lanka used by educational institutions to develop higher order cognitive skills among the learners. The Faculty of Education of Open University of Sri Lanka introduced compiling of a learning portfolio in its Master of Arts in Teacher Education programme with the intention of enhancing reflective practices and developing higher order cognitive skills among teacher educators. The key aim of compiling a learning portfolio is that students are expected to develop higher order cognitive skills such as critical thinking, reflective thinking, self evaluation, and decision making and transferring the present knowledge and skills for future development of them and their students. This study examined to what extent higher order cognitive skill development could be enhanced among teacher educators through compiling learning portfolios. A qualitative research approach was used in this study within a framework of an evaluation research design. Content analysis of 40 learning portfolios of a randomly selected sample was done using a checklist developed under six main criteria on organizing skills, presentation skills, reflective skills, capability of self evaluation, higher cognitive skills and transferring knowledge and skills for future development. Data were analyzed qualitatively using codes and categories supplemented with elementary quantitative techniques such as percentages. Results revealed that engagement in this novel process of developing a learning portfolio has encouraged all teacher educators to reflect on their learning experiences in an organized manner. However, it was evident that their main focus was more on lower order cognitive skills such as describing, explaining and understanding, whereas a very limited focus was observed on higher order cognitive skills such as analysing, evaluating and creating. Teacher educators need more guidance, support, time and opportunity to further enhance their higher order cognitive skills by effectively engaging in the learning portfolio development process. // Paper ID: 121
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