Reflection in Higher Education Learning – Essay Example

A Reflective Approach in Learning The concept of reflection has sparked a plethora of research, particularly in learning. Despite the everyday use ofthe term, scholars agree that reflection often occurs around the notion of learning. According to Moon, people often reflect on something, and this reflection often leads the individual to consider the subject in more detail (Moon 2001:1). Arguably, through reflection, learners can work with the knowledge that they have regarding a particular matter to gain further understanding. In light of the rapid change that is characteristic of the modern world, I support the author’s theory that reflective learning is detrimental to higher education.
There are three ways in which reflection relates to learning. According to Moon, reflection provides a deeper approach to the subject matter. As the learner works out the meaning of something, reflection enables them to link the subject to other ideas, which is representing learning (Moon 2001:6). Therefore, reflection facilitates a deeper approach to learning and the re-processing of the subject matter. Moreover, through reflection, the learner can upgrade their learning as they integrate the knowledge obtained with their current understanding (Moon 2001:6). I agree with the author because, in my experience, reflection enabled me to revisit mentally the subject and try to link it with other ideas. Through reflection, I was able to re-process the concepts and thus enhance my understanding of the subject which facilitated my learning. I managed to become a reflective learner by utilising reflection in the learning process.
Higher education has often been promoted as a stepping stone for enabling students to achieve their aspirations. However, the modern society no longer views higher education as a privilege but rather as being purely instrumental. In my view, education serves the purpose of imparting knowledge and skill that enrich an individual’s life and at the same the society. Therefore, the purpose of learning goes beyond the instrumental purpose of creating knowledgeable individuals who can perform a given task in the society. The aspiration of higher education is, therefore, to develop the individual thus enabling the learner to contribute better to the society and their well-being. To achieve this purpose, the nature of learning has to be changed to that which facilitates a transformational outcome.
Reflection challenges learners and thus enables the improvement of their cognitive ability. Moon argues that when learners are dealing with a subject that is complicated or ill-structured, they tend to reflect on the subject that in turn develops their cognitive ability (Moon 2001:7).Developing the learners cognitive ability is important as it prepares the for dealing with any complicated experience or issue that may occur in the workplace or society. Therefore, by developing the learner’s cognitive ability, we can develop an individual who is more curious, confident and autonomous. According to Moon, teachers should encourage reflection in learners through the use of portfolios, reflective exercises and diaries so as to enhance the student’s ability to reflect. Encouraging reflection in learning encourages the development of a habit of processing cognitive material, which in turn results in the formulation of ideas (Moon 2001:15).
Moon, J. (2001) PDP Working Paper 4: reflection in higher education learning, University of Exeter, York.