Designing Reflective Practice in the Context of OER-based e-Learning
Much is said about the importance of reflective practice especially in the professions. Yet much of what happens as part of reflective practice in the professions such as teaching is most of the time left to chance. Reflective practice allows practitioners to see the link between theory and practice by thoughtfully considering their own experiences, and applying knowledge to practice. In this paper we argue that for reflective practice to be meaningful and useful to professionals, it should be carefully designed with appropriate structure and guidance. We discuss how this was achieved by being pro-active about promoting and nurturing reflective practice within the context of a professional development program with Sri Lankan educators on OER (Open Educational Resources)-based e-Learning, and how it supported fostering Open Educational Practices (OEP). The OER-integrated online learning experience was designed with various strategies adopted to enhance reflection ‘in’ and ‘on’ action, within a situated learning pedagogical design – Scenariobased learning (SBL). Content analysis of the qualitative data mainly gathered through participants’ self-reflections, supplemented with course team members’ reflections, focus group interviews and the open-ended questions in questionnaire surveys, revealed that a scenario-based approach to learning incorporating authentic learning activities and assessment tasks, such as concept mapping, online discussions, reflective journal writing, and rubric-based feedback on assessment tasks, all helped scaffold participants' approach to reflective practice. Results show that these strategies that were adopted enhanced their critical thinking, creativity, and collaborative learning as well as self-esteem, also indicating a shift towards OEP. We conclude that careful design of the learning experiences is critical in promoting and supporting reflective practice among educators, and the use of such strategies in the design of OER-based e-Learning.
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