CRITICAL THINKING, REFLECTION, AND JOURNALING
A PRIMER FOR STUDENTS
ENTERING EXPERIENTIAL LEARNING COURSES
The definitions of experiential learning are almost as varied as the experiential learning opportunities themselves and range from volunteer experiences from which we learn about citizenship to internships that allow us to put into practice the accumulated knowledge from numerous courses to fully integrated service-learning courses in which we learn, apply, and reflect in a more cyclical process.
In spite of the wide range of definitions and programs, there are certain underlying concepts that they share.
The importance and value of experiential learning as a valid learning tool is one.
The meaning and importance of critical thinking and of reflective learning are two others.
The practice of journaling to allow for the integration of experience, critical thinking and reflective learning is another.
While it is not possible to offer information about and practice of these concepts in an on line module, it is possible to offer a foundation of information from which students can begin to think about experiential learning, critical thinking, reflective learning, and journaling. Individual experiential courses can build on such a foundation.
The purpose of this module is to help students develop a basic working knowledge of these concepts.
This can in turn offer faculty a certain assurance that their students have been introduced to the concepts on which they will build in future, individual experiential learning courses.
It consists of four sections:
experiential learning - history and definition;
reflective learning; and
It is important to understand that once this module is complete, these concepts will in all likelihood never be divided into separate categories again. They are in fact part of a process in which thinking, reflective. learning, and writing about the experiences are woven into a tapestry known as experiential learning.
Each section contains readings on the particular topic followed by a series of questions to test your understanding of the reading. Since the purpose of this module is learning rather than testing, you are welcome to return to the information when answering the questions. You may also repeat the tests until you have a passing score.
Move on to SECTION 1