Rethinking reflection: using online reflective learning in professional practice for indigenous health workers

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<ul><li><p>This article was downloaded by: [Simon Fraser University]On: 19 November 2014, At: 01:01Publisher: RoutledgeInforma Ltd Registered in England and Wales Registered Number: 1072954 Registered office:Mortimer House, 37-41 Mortimer Street, London W1T 3JH, UK</p><p>Educational Media InternationalPublication details, including instructions for authors and subscriptioninformation:</p><p>Rethinking reflection: using online reflectivelearning in professional practice forindigenous health workersMiranda Rose a &amp; Elizabeth Devonshire aa Sydney, Australiab Yooroang Garang: School of Indigenous Health Studies , The University ofSydney , PO Box 170, Lidcombe, NSW 1825, AUSTRALIA E-mail:Published online: 12 Oct 2011.</p><p>To cite this article: Miranda Rose &amp; Elizabeth Devonshire (2004) Rethinking reflection: using online reflectivelearning in professional practice for indigenous health workers, Educational Media International, 41:4,307-314, DOI: 10.1080/09523980410001680897</p><p>To link to this article:</p><p>PLEASE SCROLL DOWN FOR ARTICLE</p><p>Taylor &amp; Francis makes every effort to ensure the accuracy of all the information (the Content)contained in the publications on our platform. However, Taylor &amp; Francis, our agents, and ourlicensors make no representations or warranties whatsoever as to the accuracy, completeness, orsuitability for any purpose of the Content. Any opinions and views expressed in this publicationare the opinions and views of the authors, and are not the views of or endorsed by Taylor &amp;Francis. The accuracy of the Content should not be relied upon and should be independentlyverified with primary sources of information. Taylor and Francis shall not be liable for anylosses, actions, claims, proceedings, demands, costs, expenses, damages, and other liabilitieswhatsoever or howsoever caused arising directly or indirectly in connection with, in relation to orarising out of the use of the Content.</p><p>This article may be used for research, teaching, and private study purposes. 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Terms &amp; Conditions of access and usecan be found at</p><p></p></li><li><p>Educational Media International</p><p>ISSN 0952-3987 print/ISSN 1469-5790 online 2004 International Council for Educational Media</p><p>DOI: 10.1080/09523980410001680897</p><p>Rethinking Reflection: Using Online Reflective Learning in Professional Practice for Indigenous Health Workers</p><p>Miranda Rose and Elizabeth Devonshire, </p><p>Sydney, Australia</p><p>Taylor and Francis Ltdremi41311.sgm10.1080/09523980410001680897Educational Media International0000-0000 (print)/0000-0000 (online)Original Article2004Taylor &amp; Francis Ltd4130000002004MirandaRoseYooroang Garang: School of Indigenous Health StudiesThe University of SydneyPO Box 170LidcombeNSW</p><p>Abstract</p><p>This paper reports on an innovative use of online learning, within a distributed learning environment (DLE), to supportstudents in an undergraduate programme in Indigenous health and community development to reflect on their experiencesin professional placements. The professional practice curriculum at Yooroang Garang School of Indigenous Health Studies,University of Sydney includes professional placements, for which students submit written reflections. As a response to thelack of analysis in students writing, an interactive online reflection activity was developed, using an explicit four-step processto assist students explain and critically reflect on their placement experiences. Initial observations suggest the learningdesign has enabled students to reflect more deeply about key events and issues, while the online environment has enabledlecturers to provide more immediate and specific feedback. This paper outlines the rationale for the activity design anddiscusses the benefits and challenges it presents for lecturers and students within a DLE. Student reflections are incorpo-rated to illustrate the activitys contribution to learning outcomes.</p><p>Rflexion reconsidre : lutilisation de la formation en ligne dans la pratique professionnelle des salaris de sant indigne</p><p>Cet expos dcrit comment un usage innovatif de la formation en ligne dans un environnement de formation dcentral-ise (DLE) soutient les tudiants dans un programme de dveloppement de sant et de communaut indigne et refltesur leurs expriences de stages professionnels. Le programme des tudes professionelles lcole dtudes de SantIndigne lUniversit Yooroang Garang de Sydney inclut les stages pour lesquels les tudiants soumettent des labora-tions. Comme rponse au manque danalyse dans ces laborations, un reflet interactif en ligne a t dvelopp, utilisantun explicite procs de quatre tapes pour aider les tudiants expliquer et reflter critiquement leurs expriences destage. Des observations initiales suggrent que le concept de formation permet aux tudiants de reflter plusprofondmment sur les vnements cls et leurs problmes, pendant que lenvironnement en ligne permet aux profes-seurs de fournir un plus grand nombre de ractions immdiates et spcifiques. Cet expos dcrit le raisonnement de ceconcept interactif et les profits et dfis quil reprsente pour les professeurs et tudiants dans un environnement deformation dcentralise. Les reflts des tudiants sont incorpors pour illustrer la contribution des rsultats deformation.</p><p>berdenken von Betrachtungsweisen: Verwendung des reflektiven Online-Lernens in der beruflichen Praxis fr einheimische Arbeiter im Gesundheitswesen</p><p>Dieser Bericht beschreibt wie die innovative Verwendung des Online-Lernens innerhalb eines dezentralisiertem Lernum-felds (DLE) Studenten bei einem Studentenprogramm der Einheimischen Gesundheits- und ffentlichkeitsentwicklungund bei ihren Erfahrungen mit Praktika untersttzen soll. Der berufliche Praxis-Lehrplan der Yooroang Garang Schule derEinheimischen Gesundheitsstudien an der Universitt von Sydney schliet Praktika ein, fr die Studenten schriftliche Ausar-beitungen einreichen. Als Reaktion auf das Fehlen von Analysen in Studentenausarbeitungen wurde ein Konzept interak-tiven Gedankenaustauschs entwickelt, das einen expliziten Vier-Stufen-Prozess einbindet, um Studenten bei ihrenErklrungen und kritischen Betrachtungen bezglich ihrer Praktikumserfahrungen zu untersttzen. Anfngliche Beobach-tungen deuten an, dass dieses Lernkonzept Studenten ermglicht hat, tiefer ber Schlsselereignisse und -themen nach-zudenken, whrend das Online-Umfeld Dozenten mehr direktes und spezifisches Feedback ermglicht. Dieser Bericht gehtauf die Hintergrnde des Konzepts ein und beschreibt die daraus resultierenden Vorteile und Herausforderungen frDozenten und Studenten in einem dezentralisierten Lernumfeld. Studentische Betrachtungsweisen sind mit einbezogenum den Gedankenaustausch am Lernergebnis zu veranschaulichen.</p><p>Dow</p><p>nloa</p><p>ded </p><p>by [</p><p>Sim</p><p>on F</p><p>rase</p><p>r U</p><p>nive</p><p>rsity</p><p>] at</p><p> 01:</p><p>01 1</p><p>9 N</p><p>ovem</p><p>ber </p><p>2014</p></li><li><p>308</p><p>EMI 41:4 BLENDED LEARNING PART 2</p><p>Introduction</p><p>For Indigenous students undertaking tertiary study in block mode programmes (consisting of regular teachingblocks of short duration), a distributed learning environment (DLE) creates opportunities for strengtheninglearning experiences and outcomes. A component of DLEs that is potentially very useful for improvingstudents access to the university and its resources is online learning. As a DLE is a situation wherein time andplace are no longer a primary consideration (Crawford, 2001, p. 68), online activities can become an integraland cost effective feature of this situation. Where students are only on campus during teaching blocks, onlineactivities can increase their connection with lecturers, learning materials and study processes.</p><p>To facilitate these connections, an online reflection activity was designed and incorporated across the 4-yearundergraduate professional practice curriculum at Yooroang Garang: School of Indigenous Health Studies,University of Sydney. This paper describes the design of the online activity. It begins by outlining the learningcontext for professional practice, the specific learning needs of the student cohort and the role of reflectionin professional practice curriculum. It also discusses associated challenges and opportunities of the DLE, drawson examples of student reflections and concludes with observations on the design and use of online activitiesin the context of professional practice curriculum.</p><p>The learning context</p><p>The professional practice curriculum is a core component of the Bachelor of Health Science (AboriginalHealth and Community Development) at Yooroang Garang. The block mode of this programme providesaccess to tertiary education for Indigenous adult students who are not able to participate in semester-basedcourses because of community, family and work responsibilities. Block mode also affords students greater flex-ibility and allows them to maintain a greater sense of control and autonomy over their learning (Bourke </p><p>et al</p><p>.,1996). However, this delivery mode has limitations, including reduced face-to-face teaching time, competingdemands of content versus process and study between blocks that requires students to have proficient inde-pendent study skills.</p><p>Each unit of study in the professional practice curriculum constitutes a distributed learning environment. Itincludes three week-long campus-based teaching blocks, print based materials, one-to-one interactions viaphone or e-mail, a professional placement and an associated online reflection activity. The placement is acentral component that provides students with opportunities to experience a range of workplace settings andprofessional contexts, practice new skills and develop knowledge and skills required for expertise. The place-ment is a situated learning experience that enables students, in Billets (1999, p. 152) terms, to authenticallyintegrate learning, and provide access to the different kinds of knowledge required for workplace perfor-mance. The associated online activity is a key element of the DLE that provides an avenue for the lecturer toprepare, guide and assess students learning during the placement experience. This expert guidance supportsstudents as they develop and refine their reflective skills and is particularly useful for meeting the learningneeds of Indigenous students.</p><p>Student cohort</p><p>Despite recent improvements in Indigenous education outcomes, research reveals Indigenous students inAustralia experience lower progress and completion rates than their non-Indigenous peers (DEST, 2002,pp. ixx). In an effort to overcome this educational disadvantage, special entry schemes have been intro-duced over the last couple of decades to improve Indigenous students access to tertiary education. However,students often gain university entry only to find their literacy and academic study skills are a further barrierto success. Other potential barriers for Indigenous students include the difficulty of returning to formalstudy after years of absence, multiple competing responsibilities, geographical and cultural isolation and lowsocio-economic status (DEST, 2002). A distributed learning environment provides opportunities forovercoming some of these barriers and contributes to students achieving academic outcomes equivalent tothose of their non-Indigenous peers.</p><p>Developing reflective practice</p><p>Reflective practice is a major objective in preparing students to become professional practitioners who are ableto manage the complex and messy nature of professional work (Schn, 1987). Learning to manage profes-sional contexts can be facilitated by reflective processes that guide understandings of relatively complex or</p><p>Dow</p><p>nloa</p><p>ded </p><p>by [</p><p>Sim</p><p>on F</p><p>rase</p><p>r U</p><p>nive</p><p>rsity</p><p>] at</p><p> 01:</p><p>01 1</p><p>9 N</p><p>ovem</p><p>ber </p><p>2014</p></li><li><p>Rethinking Reflection</p><p>309</p><p>unstructured ideas for which there is not an obvious solution (Moon, 1999, p. 23). This observation is echoedby Boud </p><p>et al</p><p>. (1985), who equate the term </p><p>reflection</p><p> with those intellectual and affective activities in which indi-viduals engage to explore their experiences in order to lead to new understandings and appreciations (p. 19).Reflection is a demanding metacognitive task that requires students to focus their attention, relate new infor-mation to what is already known, identify relationships between theory and practice, validate ideas and feelingsand make this knowledge their own (Boud and Walker, 1991, p. 21).</p><p>For these reasons, demonstrating reflective competence requires a range of sophisticated skills that studentswith limited formal education often find difficult to develop. Traditionally, teaching of reflective practice hasemployed theoretical models of reflection, such as Boud and Walkers (1991), cited above. These models treatreflective practice as a cognitive process, but they also implicitly assume the literacy skills that enable learnersto turn their reflections into written text. To overcome the mismatch between these approaches and the needsof our students, we decided it was critical to rethink our teaching approaches, to unpack and demystify thegenre of reflective writing.</p><p>Activity design</p><p>The online reflection activity design is informed by theories of learning influenced by the work of Vgotsky(1978), including the cognitive apprenticeship model (Collins, 1997) and situated learning approaches (Laveand Wenger, 1991). A key principle of Vgotskys model is that learners perform at a higher level in interactionwith a teacher, than they can independently, a process termed scaffolding by Ninio and Bruner (1978).Following these models, the online activity is designed to build students skills in reflection, using a four-stepprocess of guiding and responding to students written reflections. We reasoned that building reflective skillsinvolves first identifying the object of reflection an event or issue in professional practice, secondly describingthe event or issue, thirdly explaining how or why it occurred and fourthly synthesizing this explanation withsimilar examples, with previous experience and with the broader context of practice.</p><p>The online activity we developed from this theoretical model takes advantage of the tools of Learning Manage-ment Systems (LMS). Advantages of LMS tools include the simplicity of designing online activities withoutsophisticated programming skills, simplicity of communication tools for users at both ends, such as teachersand students, password protection that provides a safe space for interactions and housing of administrativefunctions within the LMS. In addition, university support makes this online technology accessible to studentsand staff.</p><p>The onlin...</p></li></ul>