Evaluating the impact of reflecting on curriculum-embedded skill development: the experience of science undergraduates

Michelle A. Hill, Tina L. Overton, Christopher D. Thompson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

Meaningful reflection on their learning and skill development is often lacking in the experience of undergraduates. Many students do not recognise the curriculum-embedded development of transferable skills and lack the ability to articulate such skills. This mixed-methods study sought to investigate whether engaging students in reflection would increase their ability to recognise and articulate their skill development. Sixty science undergraduates from Monash University completed a voluntary semester-long program recording and reflecting on course-related skill development, supported by email prompts and group discussions. The impact of students’ involvement was evaluated through pre- and post-participation surveys, reflections and group discussions. Most students were challenged by the unfamiliarity of thinking beyond knowledge attainment in order to identify and reflect on skill-related experiences. However, they recognised a range of benefits from doing so, including an improved ability to recognise their skill development, strengths and weaknesses and to articulate their skills in readiness for seeking employment. They also valued previously unappreciated learning tasks and gained motivation to improve skill deficits and seek out opportunities to improve their employability. Based on this study, recommendations are made regarding best practice for implementing skills reflection in the curriculum.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)672–688
Number of pages17
JournalHigher Education Research & Development
Volume39
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 6 Jun 2020

Keywords

  • articulation
  • curriculum
  • employability
  • Reflection
  • transferable skills

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