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Reflection on-line or off-line: the role of learning technologies in encouraging students to reflect


Computers & Education Volume 34, Number 3, ISSN 0360-1315 Publisher: Elsevier Ltd


This paper presents case studies that describe the experiences of the two authors in trying to use learning technologies to facilitate reflective thinking in their students. At the University of Leicester, a Web-based biology tutorial called ‘How Now Mad Cow’, which covers the topics of bovine spongiform encephalopathy and a new variant Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease (nvCJD). At the University of Southampton, a web-based hyper-mail discussion list to support teaching on a first year psychosocial science module for occupational therapy and physiotherapy students has been established. In both examples, the tutors had attempted to create a learning environment that would engage students in the learning experience and facilitate reflection by helping them to create meaning from the learning experience and see things in a different way. The evaluation data from both case studies provides some evidence that the learning technologies helped to facilitate reflection for some students. However, the evidence for reflection is not overwhelming and the data provides some evidence that four key factors may have influenced how successful the use of learning technologies were in facilitating reflection. These factors are the way the learning technology is used, the nature of the student groups, the role of the tutor and student preferences for ‘off-line reflection’. These are discussed and ways forward are identified.


Seale, J.K. & Cann, A.J. (2000). Reflection on-line or off-line: the role of learning technologies in encouraging students to reflect. Computers & Education, 34(3), 309-320. Elsevier Ltd. Retrieved August 14, 2020 from .

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