Integrating students' learning experiences through deliberate reflective practice

Joachim Walther, Nadia Kellam, David Radcliffe, Chantinee Boonchai

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

15 Scopus citations


This paper presents the evaluation of an alternative procedure to facilitate engineering students' reflective learning in the context of situated learning experiences. The procedure takes the format of a focus group with specific triggers to elicit students' accounts of critical learning experiences. This reflection starts from students' concrete, intuitive feelings of consternation when their prior understandings of engineering were challenged by a situation encountered in practice - we call these competence anomalies. The effectiveness of the suggested procedure was evaluated in a survey of 58 engineering students who had participated in trial focus groups. The analysis of the 5 point Likert scale ratings indicated that the majority of students (78.9%) saw significant benefits from their participation. Subsequent questions revealed that the focus groups supported the recall of learning incidents but did not give students enough guidance in interpreting their experiences. For the further development of the tool we thus propose a four step SAID structure (Situation, Affect, Interpretation, Decision). The paper concludes with an outlook on the implementation of this expanded concept as a concurrent reflective tool in an innovative engineering synthesis and design studio series. In this context, the reflection is intended to promote overall integrative learning that encompasses the curriculum, situated learning as well as the students' prior and current life experiences.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publication39th Annual Frontiers in Education Conference
Subtitle of host publicationImagining and Engineering Future CSET Education, FIE 2009
StatePublished - 2009
Externally publishedYes
Event39th Annual Frontiers in Education Conference: Imagining and Engineering Future CSET Education, FIE 2009 - San Antonio, TX, United States
Duration: Oct 18 2009Oct 21 2009

Publication series

NameProceedings - Frontiers in Education Conference, FIE
ISSN (Print)1539-4565


Other39th Annual Frontiers in Education Conference: Imagining and Engineering Future CSET Education, FIE 2009
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Antonio, TX


  • Focus groups
  • Reflection
  • Situated learning

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Education
  • Computer Science Applications


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