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Using Blackboard for Reflective Learning


October 2022


What is reflective learning? Study.com defines it as a process of learning using conscious, intentional reflection. Reflective learning can involve observing and auditing the level of information comprehension while learning.

An example of the use of reflective learning is of a student who reflects on which learning concepts she is having difficulty grasping and how she might better learn them. Another example of using a reflective style of learning is of a basketball player who prepares for a game by asking which parts of the game he is struggling with and what strategies he can use to improve. Reflective learning can also be done with others, like when an assembly of students talks about the difficulties they’re having with meeting learning goals. One advantage of group discussion is increasing awareness of other perspectives and solutions.

Blackboard Learn Help published Best Practice: Benefits of Reflective Learning to reveal how Blackboard Learn tools can enhance reflective learning. It states, “Students can use a journal or blog to collect observations, thoughts, concerns, notes, progress, and opinions that may not be shared otherwise. Writing can build rapport between instructors and students, contributing to a positive learning experience. As stated in an online article in Educause Quarterly, “Reflective learning can aid learners in synthesizing new information, and it is often used to improve reading comprehension, writing performance, and self-esteem via self-examination.”1

In the educational environment, journals and blogs need to be more than just a list of what a student did. The writing experience is used to communicate the thinking process: the how and why for each activity and thoughts about the activity at its conclusion.

The University of Worcester distributes a study skills advice sheet listing the benefits of reflective learning, which states: “Reflective learners are more likely to develop a deeper understanding of their subject and to achieve higher grades as a result.”2

Reflective learners share these characteristics:

  • They are motivated and know what they are trying to achieve and why.
  • They are proactive in extending their understanding of new topics and subjects.
  • They use their existing knowledge to help develop their understanding of new ideas.
  • They understand new concepts by relating them to their previous experiences.
  • They understand that additional research and reading improves their understanding.
  • They develop their learning and thinking by building on the critical evaluation of their previous learning experiences.
  • They are self-aware-able to identify, explain, and address their strengths and weaknesses.

If your learning goals are to ensure students increase comprehension, are more engaged, and take an increased degree of responsibility during instruction, Blackboard Learn tools will prove beneficial with reflective learning practices.


1Phipps, Jonnie Jill. “E-Journaling: Achieving Interactive Education Online.” Educause Quarterly. 28.1 (2005): n.pag. Web. 18 Nov. 2009.

2Learning Journals. University of Worcester, Aug. 2007. Web. 18 Nov. 2009.