Higher Ed Journal the Use of Learning Literature Review

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Higher Ed Journal

The Use of Learning Journals in Higher Education

The study conducted by Langer (2002) provides consideration of a progressive approach to observing learning outcomes. Identifying 'learning journal' usage as a way of monitoring weekly learning outcomes for students, the study by Langer makes as its primary area of consideration a method of student evaluation that might bring more nuance to the grading system. The interest is of particular value, the discussion conducted hereafter will show, with respect to non-traditional students, who may be less inherently responsive to the parameters or implications of a grading system.

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This points us to the primary research question driving Langer's study. Langer asks what the variance is in the experience of non-traditional vs. traditional students when using learning journals as a part of the regular learning process. In order to initiate an investigation on the subject, Langer composes a literature review detailing the theoretical and practical history of the learning journal as a tool for educational improvement. He reports to the value of learning journals historically in such reflective fields as science, mathematics and engineering. Here, Langer refers to Harmelink (1998) as a researcher who yielded positive research outcomes where science students kept journals constructed to improve learning and communication. These findings are further endorsed by Selfe et al. (1986), which underscores the idea of learning journals as a way of improving conceptual learning approaches separate from grade-based performance. The research showed that while grades did not necessarily improve in students, the learning journal did help to improve the development of abstract reasoning and problem-solving capabilities.

Literature Review on Higher Ed Journal the Use of Learning Assignment

A subsequent section in the literature review consider the transition of learning journals in theoretical discourse to practical usage. The literature review credits Dart et al. (1998) and Johns (1994) for preliminary examination of this usage. A final section of the literature review identifies various types of learning journals. Here, Langer identifies structures, unstructured and dialogue journals as different approaches which may be taken in practical application of the specific strategy. In proceeding from the literature review, Langer makes the argument that "the existing literature on the use of learning journals in higher education indicates that it can be an effective learning instrument." (341) the research also finds that there is typically an adjustment period as the student works to gain comfort with this novel learning approach.

These literature findings underscore the qualitative, comparative population approach taken to the data collection and analysis methodologies. Langer contends that a "review of the literature on learning journals for students in higher education, as summarized above, provides theoretical and contextual grounding for the current study and informs its two principle modes of inquiry: an evaluative review of the learning journals submitted by students; and an interview of selected students who completed the course." (p. 341)

Langer would channel this into findings suggesting that non-traditional and traditional students respond differently to the learning journal but that both demonstrated some benefits and some significant limitations. First, it bears noting that non-traditional student is held to mean adult student, and that this comprises the experimental population with which Langer has the greatest interest. This is held in comparison to traditionally-aged student populations. Both groups are contextualized by a computer laboratory course. The results essentially denote that in a comparative… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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