Reflective journals

An example of this approach, plus: pros and cons; requirements; resistance to academic misconduct and suggestions for making this approach more robust.


Students are required to write critically about what they have learned, drawing upon their experiences and/or practice, and relating it to their reading.


  • Reflective writing can enable students to demonstrate complex learning outcomes including critical thinking;
  • students can develop good working habits and routines through regular engagement;
  • students can demonstrate analysis, creativity and originality;
  • Reflection in and of itself can be a powerful learning process;
  • as this is highly personal,  the likelihood of plagiarism is reduced;
  • regular engagement from staff allows them to gain a good idea of the student’s progress and where additional support is required;
  • encourages autonomous learning and increased learner autonomy.


  • Students may not fully understand what is required of them in reflective writing reflection
  • It is common to dislike forced reflection (staff often feel the same) and some may not allocate much consideration to it.
  • Tendency to write what they think you want to read; i.e. fiction.
  • Potential difficulties in verifying content and timing of when reflective notes were actually written (all in one go or throughout the expected time span);
  • Difficult to mark fairly. Specific criteria needs to be established and communicated.


Essential that students understand (and hopefully see value in) assessment criteria.

Minimal technical requirement unless you choose to run this as a blog.

Marking time.

Resistance to academic misconduct

Moderate only. Possible to borrow and paraphrase from other students and from your own previous reflections.

Making it more robust

Information to follow.