KUWASEP reflective learning framework for engaged learning

By Dr Lola-Peach Martins, Business School 

Critical thinking (CT) and self-reflection (SR) are essential competencies, which contribute to the development of other competencies such as interpersonal, and communication skills. Both types of reflections have been linked to emotional intelligence behaviours and each can be viewed as unblocking and deconditioning learning techniques – useful learning techniques for students.

Higher Education educators play an important role in facilitating the student’s learning journey. One way of achieving this is by introducing them to practical reflective learning frameworks. For example, I use KUWASEP   (fig 1), a multi-learning domain framework, which helps students engage with learning (including experiential learning).

The KUWASEP learning framework consists of seven learning domains.

  1. Knowledge: Knowledge as a learning domain is about knowing or gaining knowledge about someone/self or something. Gained knowledge does not necessarily mean than the learner has gained understanding, although gained knowledge can lead to it. In general, some key attributes of knowledge, which demonstrate learning are: depth, scope, clarity, increment, and information gathering. In other words, learning requires understanding.
  2. Understanding (reflection process): This learning domain is about how the learner uses creativity to reflect (or think critically) in order to understand a topic/issue/problem and provide clear explanations. Some creative behaviours linked with this are curiosity (interest in/passion about the subject), divergent thinking, inter-‘connect-ability’, orientation towards complexity and novelty, open-mindedness and perseverance.
  3. Wisdom (or strategic learning): The Wisdom learning domain is about making the best use of knowledge, experience, and understanding by exercising good judgement and taking action, and is therefore linked to free choice and attitude. Wisdom is one of the core features of the framework that helps to improve the understanding. Studies show that wisdom is pertinent to judgement and decision-making.
  4. Attitude: This learning domain is about learning habits, which stem from learner beliefs. Learning elements may include curiosity and exploration, changing attitudes, evoking feelings, developing a sense of personal identity, and making decisions. In a learning context, attitudes usually include both emotions and cognitive domains, which can include feelings of discomfort, nervousness, entrapment, and confusion – leading to attitudes of perseverance, willingness to learn, and also overcoming barriers. Such attitudes tend to result in the development of essential creative information seeking-research (CIS-R) skills.  
  5. Skills: The Skills learning domain is about the learner’s expert ability (learning capacity) – the extent to which he/she can perform an activity. This may be task or behaviour orientated. Scholars in the field of skills development would agree that effective learning comes about as a result of continuous learning/experiential learning.
  6. Emotions: Emotions as a learning domain is about what and how the learner learns about their thoughts and feelings. Attraction to a topic/task or enjoyment of such can also lead to increased attention, greater concentration, and an increased willingness to learn.

    As the learner engages with their learning activity his/her thoughts become clearer as they begin to comprehend the issue or problem, hence, moving from the negative to a positive state of mind.  They may move from feeling frustrated, pressured, stifled, and dissatisfied to feeling energised, happy and optimistic. These emotions begin to have an impact on attitude, which shifts from (for example) doubt and de-motivation to increased confidence and interest.
  7. Perceived Self-efficacy: This final domain is concerned with the faith the learner has in their ability to:
  • Learn
  • Successfully complete a particular task
  • Deal with the challenges they meet, and
  • Handle obstacles with confidence – hence make the right decision/judgements, the results of which tend to lead to high esteem (positive emotion).
Scholars have defined self-efficacy as a belief in one’s own capabilities to organize and execute the course of action required to attain a goal , and therefore know exactly what is required of them to perform a certain task effectively.

Clearly, each one of these domains is an important contributor to a student’s academic achievement.

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