LAMS AS A COGNITIVE TOOL FOR TEACHER EDUCATION STUDENTS’ REFLECTIVE THINKING
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Design based research is one exemplary way to help educators, educational designers, and institutions rethink their pedagogical approaches within the learning environment. It is envisaged that unique uses of synchronous chat, polling, student feedback, e-portfolios and online questions and answers will help engage the new generation of learners. This paper provides a preliminary formative evaluation of the use of the Learning Activity Management System (LAMS) as a cognitive tool for promoting student reflective thinking within the context of the first year of a teacher education program. There were two research questions. First, how do the learning activities, resources and supports using LAMS foster student engagement and critical reflection? Second, to what extent does learning design using LAMS assist students to link professional knowledge to professional practice? Students were asked to reflect on their own learning and document the process through which they constructed their view of learning from the field. The results showed that, when students recognised the relevance of learning through ‘rich tasks’, they saw their application to the world beyond the classroom and started to reflect critically on their experience. There was a positive response from students about the impact of LAMS in facilitating their understanding of the relationship between professional knowledge and professional practice. What is evident from the evaluations is that the learning activities, resources and supports using LAMS assisted students to do this. The barriers and challenges for future applications require attention to the reliability of IT infrastructure across the university and professional development and change management for academic and support staff.
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