Sharing honest written reflections can make the writer vulnerable, as they reflect on their uncertainties, failings, and how they are changing as a learner. CIC is bringing together the leaders in Reflective Writing Analytics, providing instant feedback on such writing.
Reflective writing is quite different from the more widely used forms of academic writing (e.g. a literature review, persuasive essay, or research paper). However, this form of writing is growing in importance as we seek to place learners in authentic learning contexts (e.g. internships; work placements; or simulated teams), specifically so that they experience something of the complexity of real workplaces. But to paraphrase Dewey:
“We do not learn from experience… we learn from reflecting on experience”
Honest reflection can make the writer vulnerable, as they reflect on their uncertainties, failings, and how they are changing as a learner/professional. They are often deeply personal, connecting to different threads across the many areas of their life. That’s almost the opposite of the other genres of writing that dominate students’ and professionals’ lives, which emphasise rational distance, mastery of the material, and confident rhetoric. Deep reflection can even share transformational moments in someone’s life and learning.
Yet reflecting is not something that people are always (or even often) given the opportunity to learn how to do well. A lot of evidence confirms that educators find this hard to teach and assess, and students find it hard to learn. We’re now seeing the emergence of Reflective Writing Analytics — the use of natural language processing to analyse large amounts of reflective writing, extremely quickly, making possible new forms of feedback. CIC has been hosting videoconferences that bring together leading researchers in this exciting new field. Learn more in Simon Buckingham Shum’s blog post…