Exploring best practices and new approaches for incorporating student reflection into WIL
Presented by: Johanna Carroll, University of Toronto
Reflection is a critical component of work integrated learning (WIL). When embedded within the context of a WIL curriculum, well-designed reflection exercises can facilitate knowledge transformation by connecting theory to real world experience, encourage critical thinking and problem solving skills, and clarify goals to help derive meaning from the WIL experience (Ash & Clayton, 2009; Gibbs, 1988). This workshop will discuss how educators can incorporate reflection into WIL experiences to enhance the student experience and minimize reflection fatigue.
Through prompts and facilitated discussion, participants will critically evaluate how reflection is incorporated into their WIL courses or programs and will share these reflective practices with others during the workshop. Participants will be guided through the process of mapping out the formative (ongoing throughout) and summative (cumulative at the end) reflective assignments in their courses or programs and will discuss how reflective exercises can be incorporated into a WIL experience to support diverse student learners. Participants will also examine the benefits and challenges of incorporating reflective exercises into a WIL experience.
As an example of reflection in WIL, during the workshop I will present a case study where multimodal summative and formative reflective assignments have been incorporated in a WIL experience for graduate students in a Master of Health Science program at the University of Toronto. I will highlight a new summative assignment in which students use their formative reflective exercises as inspiration to create and present a 3-minute practicum talk. Similar formats have been used in business (the elevator pitch) and in research (the 3-minute thesis) (Gallo, 2018; University of Queensland n.d.). Unlike the elevator pitch and 3-minute thesis, the 3-minute practicum challenges students to use Gibbs’ model of reflection (Gibbs, 1988) to formulate a talk showcasing what they learned during their practicum.
I will discuss the structure of the 3-minute practicum assignment as well as the impact of summative reflective assignments on supervisor and student engagement. I will also discuss how summative reflective assignments can be designed to be shared publicly, and how doing so can positively impact not only students at the culmination of their WIL experience, but also students prior to their WIL experience. Although the 3-minute practicum was designed for graduate students in the life sciences, it can be adapted for WIL experiences in other disciplines and undergraduate students.