Langer's Theory of Reflection on Practice

Arthur Langer's article Reflecting on Practice: Using Learning Journals in Higher and Continuing Education, attemptedto evaluate the efficiency of learning journals when employed in the nontraditional school room (2002). He used a two part strategy involving arbitrary sampling of a non-traditional college or university technology class and self-selection based volunteers to examine the effectiveness of learning publications in this discussion board. This evaluator examined Langer's research question, review of literature, technique, empirical information and discussion of the factors wanting to determine the validity of this study. It's the conclusion of the evaluator that while Langer is a well-organized copy writer whose research appears to fill a void in the education dialogue on learning journals, he didn't create a credible, reproducible analysis for a variety of reasons, including the reality he didn't explain the significance of his concentrate on non-traditional students, seemingly ignored the potential boundaries of his test, failed to discuss in depth his instrument of preference for evaluating journals and regrettably did not mention some of his possible limits in his justification of results.

One of Langer's strong factors as a researcher is his ability to write within an organized fashion. He commenced with a strong overview which managed to get possible for this researcher to follow his development through the noted study. His goal was clearly shown in the beginning of his analysis when he remarked, "the way the use of journals impacted the learning procedure for adult students of the last mentioned category [non-traditional students] and the way the impact compared to that of students of the past category [traditional students]" (Langer, 2002, p. 337). He then provided an overview on the method chosen for this research: a three semester sampling of the required technology course at Columbia School. Finally, Langer hinted at a discord between his studies and previous research, namely the scholarly presumption that "journals provide a tool for learning" (2002, p. 338). While Langer's advantages clues at the solid business and research he used throughout his research examination, it didn't indicate one of the first major problems with his analysis.

Langer produced a plethora of research on learning publications and traditional university student critical thinking throughout his books review; alas, he neglected to examine the need for research on non-traditional student learning, a relatively key component to his research. His research purpose was clearly offered in the beginning of his analysis when he known, "how the use of publications impacted the training process of adult students of the last mentioned category [non-traditional students] and how the impact compared to that of students of the former category [traditional students]" (Langer, 2002, p. 337). It really is obvious to the researcher that there surely is significance to using journals for reflective learning and then some discernable difference in the mind of Langer to warrant research on non-traditional students. To begin he scrutinized a number of current and credible resources of his time for you to explain the significance of reflective learning and learning journals. When discussing reflective learning, Langer analyzed works from analysts such as Mezirow, who spent over a decade researching reflective and critical thinking techniques in academia, specifically in the field learning journals and with adult learners (Kemper et al. , 1999, p. 20). While reflective learning can be covered in many ways, Langer thought we would narrow his research to learning journals, which his research illustrated was proven as a way to obtain valid facts gathering when wanting to understand reflective learning (Kemper et al, 1999). As Langer discussed that there is little research specifically on scientific field, his review of research reviewed similar fields necessitating, "knowledge founded axioms and demonstratable substantiation" (Langer, 2002, p. 339), such as the science and engineering domains. He also centered on the student human population for this review by reviewing research about how journal reflection applies to both educational thinking and true to life activities. Finally, Langer summarized the three categories of journals that 're normally evaluated in this genre of research, specifically unstructured, organized, and dialogue journals. This overview of prior research led Langer to justify his research course by noting, "Research on the use of learning publications in technology domains in advanced schooling among non-traditional students, however, is missing" (2002, p. 341). Alas, there is certainly one oversight. An essential component to his research is the actual fact that the non-traditional pupil has been basically dismissed from research in this field (2002). Since his overview of research examined a variety of academic efforts, it is rational to believe that traditional learners have been more completely explored. While Langer did discuss how other researchers perceived learning journals impact students experienced outside the classroom, there is no evidence shown that illustrated this is significantly different for non-traditional students. On the other hand, Langer himself appeared to illustrate that both scholar types were similar. At one point, Langer cited Grumbacher (1987) when describing how students using learning journals in the knowledge classroom can become better problem-solvers. Yet this is a quality that Langer described was also important to non-traditional students when he discusses Moon's research on learning publications (2000). This leads this researcher to speculate what Langer was wanting to find different between both of these demographics.

Langer's second potential flaw, from this evaluator's perspective, is at the sample chosen for this study. Consistent with his advantages, Langer described the sample constitute, size and significance. Specifically, he select random students taking a required technology course in a qualification program suitable for individuals changing their job paths (2002). Over three different semesters a total of thirty students acquired their models of fifteen journals evaluated for the first segment of the study. This is a relatively small sample taking into consideration the case he makes in the beginning of his paper; that students of both different demographics have different results in relation to learning journals and reflectiveness.

The second test flaw was the interviewing procedure for these students. Rather than interviewing all students who participated in the first portion of the analysis, Langer and his assistants requested volunteers of this group to meet and be interviewed on the publications. While self-selected examples are often found in research they are simply potentially biased in one significant way concerning this study, namely those with high positive or negative interest will self-select. One researcher noted when it comes to self-selecting samples regarding questionnaires, "individuals who have a particular interest in the subject matter or the research itself are more likely to return email questionnaires than those who find themselves less interested" (Fowler, 1984, p. 49). It's possible then that the students who participated in this second section had strong feelings toward the use of learning journals, which would eliminate the replies of students who have been potentially less impacted by the action of journaling.

One final problem with Langer's strategy was his insufficient justification on the device used for his analysis. Earlier he described that his review is based, in part, on the Kemper et al. (1999) improvements to Mezirow's (1991) categories as they related to journal writing and reflective thinking (Langer, 2002, p. 339). However, there was no developed reason concerning these categories. That is significant because without further research into this model, it is not possible for this researcher to judge whether Langer's research used the categories extensively enough to compare results between your studies, something done later in the article by Langer.

While it is unclear regarding the validity of the declare that Langer matched his current review to previous experts, he did evidently report on the results of both the evaluations and interviews of the scholar participants. With regards to the publications, Langer's first observation was how strongly students remained aligned to the sample publications provided by the teacher, even though the teacher provided directions to be creative (2002, p. 343). He also mentioned that over 50 % of the participants seemed to become more reflective as the course advanced. Langer was quick to aid this with test student commentary that illustrate high self-reflectiveness on the part of the college student (2002, p. 343).

Langer also provided a detailed synopsis of the ten interviews of the volunteer participants. Because he plainly described each question asked by the interviewers, this researcher could understand the context of the answers as they related to Langer's analysis. For example, one important question asked the members the way they used these publications above the fifteen week course. While all students were assigned the publications for a course task, answers varied on the usefulness from research assists and understanding the materials to using the publications as a way of compensating for a pressure between your students preferred learning style and the professor's approach to teaching (2002, p. 345). Langer then used the results from both sections of his qualitative analysis to demonstrate common themes when using learning publications in a non-traditional technology centered course.

Disappointingly, however, while Langer provided these detailed results and explained their significance to future studies, he didn't look at his own study's flaws or restrictions. One restriction that Langer must have acknowledged had not been only the small sample size, but the small scope of the geographic location of the study. All participants were part of a sample of Columbia College or university in New York City. While it can be done and probable that courses like the one Langer used for his focus can be found in other schools in other says and even in other countries, every population has factors that must definitely be taken into consideration. For example, New York City is urban character. Would these results be the same if the course is at a college or university in Western world Virginia? Are students in the north USA statistically not the same as their peers in other areas of the united states? While this might not have any bearing on the conclusions, the demographics do cause a potential restriction that Langer should have addressed.

Finally, while Langer do reproduce some results from past findings, such as, "learning publications can improve knowledge for students" (2002, p. 349), he focused instead on possible discrepancies, notably the low rate of critical research in this sample of non-traditional learner journals. Langer described some possible known reasons for this discrepancy such as the professor's potential insufficient instruction or insufficient understanding by the university student. However, nowhere have Langer consider that the likelihood would be that the sample size provided a restricted scope to allow for this comparability.

Although Arthur Langer's research should have tone of voice in the dialogue on reflective learning through journals, his insufficient justification for the scope of his research kept this researcher to question the importance this study has in relation to others of its kind. Langer is a researcher whose group allowed for easy understanding of his thought process, however, he failed to explain the importance of his concentrate on non-traditional students, seemingly ignored the actual boundaries of his sample, did not explain in depth his instrument of preference for evaluating publications and regrettably did not mention any of this studies possible constraints in his explanation of conclusions. This researcher has learned not only the value of the topic of learning publications through Langer's comprehensive research and review, but also the value of describing and justifying the scope of the analysis being shown. If this researcher hope to create studies that endure future scrutiny and invite for others to check the validity of the quarrels presented, additionally it is important to evidently explain the device used in the research undertaking. Finally, it is humbling to notice that no subject the precision of research and application of technique, all research inherently comes with researcher biases and limitations. It is wise to keep in mind this, lest the analysis be dismissed as unreliable or unrealistic for lack of acknowledging these restrictions.

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