Can The Use Of Online Learning And Reflective Journals Improve Students’ Performance For A Practically Taught Timber Jointing Module?
Keywords:Action Research, Online Learning, Independent Learning, Timber Jointing Classes, Reflection & Reflective Journals.
The Dublin Institute of Technology is one of the largest multi-level higher education providers in Ireland. The Institute’s traditional mission has always been focused on teaching and learning in the field of advanced technical vocational education and training (TVET), and one of its agendas is to foster and encourage changes in teaching practice and methodology in order to enhance the student learning experience.
This research concerned the performance levels of first year students of the Timber Product Technology (TPT) programme. I wanted to investigate whether the use of independent online learning and reflective journals would encourage these students to continue their learning outside of the timetable class contact hours and improve their performance in the practical class.
The methods used were informed by a constructivist underpinning with students being encouraged to take more responsibility for their own learning. Independent learning was encouraged by using a purpose built website, where material relating to this module was provided using a variety of mediums.
Learner reflection and the use of reflective journals formed a substantial aspect of this research and students were encouraged to record the daily progress of their practical work and actively use estimated and actual time charts to plan practical work.
The findings of this research saw a more informed student than the previous year’s cohort. This was evident in both the assessment stage of the research study and in the language used in the student’s journal writing. The findings of this research also showed that the students did take charge of their own learning by coming to class well prepared with a plan of action.
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