Using Learning Journals In Higher And Continuing Education

Arthur Langer ‘s article Reflecting on Practice: Using Learning Diaries in Higher and Continuing Education, attempted to measure the effectivity of larning diaries when utilized in the untraditional schoolroom ( 2002 ) . He used a two portion methodological analysis affecting random sampling of a non-traditional college engineering category and self-selection based voluntaries to analyze the utility of larning diaries in this forum. This judge analyzed Langer ‘s research inquiry, reappraisal of literature, methodological analysis, empirical grounds and treatment of these factors trying to find the cogency of this survey. It is the decision of this judge that while Langer is a good organized author whose research seems to make full a nothingness in the instruction duologue on larning diaries, he failed to make a believable, consistent survey for a assortment of grounds, including the fact that he did non explicate the significance of his focal point on non-traditional pupils, apparently ignored the possible bounds of his sample, failed to explicate in deepness his instrument of pick for measuring diaries and unfortunately did non advert any of his possible restrictions in his account of findings.

One of Langer ‘s strong points as a research worker is his ability to compose in an organized manner. He began with a strong overview which made it easy for this research worker to follow his patterned advance through the documented survey. His intent was clearly presented in the beginning of his survey when he remarked, “ how the usage of diaries impacted the larning procedure of grownup pupils of the latter class [ non-traditional pupils ] and how the impact compared to that of pupils of the former class [ traditional pupils ] ” ( Langer, 2002, p. 337 ) . He so provided an overview on the method chosen for this survey: a three semester sampling of a needed engineering class at Columbia University. Finally, Langer hinted at a struggle between his findings and old research, viz. the scholarly given that “ diaries provide a tool for larning ” ( 2002, p. 338 ) . While Langer ‘s debut intimations at the solid organisation and research he used throughout his research analysis, it failed to bespeak one of the first major jobs with his survey.

Langer produced a overplus of grounds on larning diaries and traditional pupil critical thought throughout his literature reappraisal ; unluckily, he neglected to analyze the demand for research on non-traditional pupil acquisition, a apparently cardinal constituent to his research. His research intent was clearly presented in the beginning of his survey when he noted, “ how the usage of diaries impacted the larning procedure of grownup pupils of the latter class [ non-traditional pupils ] and how the impact compared to that of pupils of the former class [ traditional pupils ] ” ( Langer, 2002, p. 337 ) . It is obvious to this research worker that there is significance to utilizing diaries for brooding acquisition and so some discernible difference in the head of Langer to justify research on non-traditional pupils. To get down he scrutinized a assortment of current and believable beginnings of his clip to explicate the significance of brooding acquisition and learning diaries. When discoursing brooding acquisition, Langer examined plants from research workers such as Mezirow, who spent over a decennary researching brooding and critical thought patterns in academe, specifically in the field larning diaries and with grownup scholars ( Kemper et al. , 1999, p. 20 ) . While brooding acquisition can be covered in a assortment of ways, Langer chose to contract his research to larning diaries, which his research illustrated was proven as a beginning of valid grounds assemblage when trying to understand brooding acquisition ( Kemper et Al, 1999 ) . As Langer explained that there was small research specifically on technological field, his reappraisal of research examined similar Fieldss necessitating, “ cognition based maxims and demonstratable cogent evidence ” ( Langer, 2002, p. 339 ) , such as the scientific discipline and technology Fieldss. He besides focused on the pupil population for this survey by reexamining research on how journal contemplation applies to both academic thought and existent life experiences. Finally, Langer summarized the three classs of diaries that are most frequently examined in this genre of research, viz. unstructured, structured, and duologue diaries. This reappraisal of old research led Langer to warrant his research way by observing, “ Research on the usage of larning diaries in engineering Fieldss in higher instruction among non-traditional pupils, nevertheless, is missing ” ( 2002, p. 341 ) . Unfortunately, there is one inadvertence. A cardinal constituent to his research is the fact that the non-traditional pupil has been all but ignored from research in this field ( 2002 ) . Since his reappraisal of research examined a assortment of academic enterprises, it is logical to presume that traditional scholars have been more exhaustively researched. While Langer did discourse how other research workers perceived learning diaries impact pupils experienced outside the schoolroom, there was no grounds presented that illustrated this is significantly different for non-traditional pupils. On the contrary, Langer himself seemed to exemplify that the two pupil types were similar. At one point, Langer cited Grumbacher ( 1987 ) when explicating how pupils utilizing larning diaries in the scientific discipline schoolroom can go better problem-solvers. Yet this is a quality that Langer pointed out was besides of import to non-traditional pupils when he discusses Moon ‘s research on larning diaries ( 2000 ) . This leads this research worker to inquire what Langer was seeking to happen different between these two demographics.

Langer ‘s 2nd possible defect, from this judge ‘s position, was in the sample chosen for this survey. Consistent with his debut, Langer explained the sample make up, size and significance. Specifically, he chose random pupils taking a needed engineering class in a enfranchisement plan designed for grownups altering their calling waies ( 2002 ) . Over three different semesters a sum of 30 pupils had their sets of 15 diaries reviewed for the first section of the survey. This is a comparatively little sample sing the claim he makes in the beginning of his paper ; that pupils of the two different demographics have different findings in relation to larning diaries and reflectivity.

The 2nd sample defect was the interviewing procedure of these pupils. Rather than questioning all pupils who participated in the first section of the survey, Langer and his helpers requested voluntaries of this group to run into and be interviewed on their diaries. While self-selected samples are frequently used in research they are potentially biased in one important manner associating to this survey, viz. those with high positive or negative involvement will self-select. One research worker noted in respects to self-selecting samples affecting questionnaires, “ people who have a peculiar involvement in the capable affair or the research itself are more likely to return mail questionnaires than those who are less interested ” ( Fowler, 1984, p. 49 ) . It is possible so that the pupils who participated in this 2nd section had strong feelings toward the usage of larning diaries, which would extinguish the responses of pupils who were potentially less impacted by the act of journaling.

One concluding job with Langer ‘s methodological analysis was his deficiency of account on the instrument utilized for his survey. Earlier he mentioned that his survey is based, in portion, on the Kemper et Al. ( 1999 ) alterations to Mezirow ‘s ( 1991 ) classs as they related to journal authorship and brooding thought ( Langer, 2002, p. 339 ) . However, there was no developed account as to these classs. This is important because without farther research into this theoretical account, it is non possible for this research worker to measure whether Langer ‘s research followed the classs exhaustively plenty to compare consequences between the surveies, something done subsequently in the article by Langer.

While it is ill-defined as to the cogency of the claim that Langer matched his current survey to old research workers, he did clearly study on the consequences of both the ratings and interviews of the pupil participants. In relation to the diaries, Langer ‘s first observation was how closely pupils stayed aligned to the sample diaries provided by the teacher, even when the teacher provided waies to be originative ( 2002, p. 343 ) . He besides noted that over half of the participants seemed to go more brooding as the class progressed. Langer was speedy to back up this with sample pupil remarks that illustrate high self-reflectiveness on the portion of the pupil ( 2002, p. 343 ) .

Langer besides provided a elaborate sum-up of the 10 interviews of the voluntary participants. Because he clearly defined each inquiry asked by the interviewers, this research worker was able to understand the context of the replies as they related to Langer ‘s survey. For illustration, one of import inquiry asked the participants how they used these diaries over the 15 hebdomad class. While all pupils were assigned the diaries for a class assignment, replies varied on their utility from survey AIDSs and understanding the stuffs to utilizing the diaries as a manner of counterbalancing for a tenseness between the pupils preferred learning manner and the professor ‘s method of learning ( 2002, p. 345 ) . Langer so used the consequences from both sections of his qualitative survey to exemplify common subjects when utilizing larning diaries in a non-traditional engineering based class.

Disappointingly, nevertheless, while Langer provided these elaborate consequences and explained their significance to future surveies, he failed to analyze his ain survey ‘s defects or restrictions. One restriction that Langer should hold acknowledged was non merely the little sample size, but the little range of the geographic location of this survey. All participants were portion of a sample of Columbia University in New York City. While it is possible and likely that courses such as the one Langer used for his focal point exist in other schools in other provinces and even in other states, every population has factors that must be taken into consideration. For illustration, New York City is urban nature. Would these consequences be the same if the class was in a college in West Virginia? Are pupils in the northern United States statistically different from their equals in other countries of the state? While this might non hold any bearing on the decisions, the demographics do present a possible restriction that Langer should hold addressed.

Finally, while Langer did reproduce some consequences from old findings, such as, “ learning diaries can better cognition for pupils ” ( 2002, p. 349 ) , he focused alternatively on possible disagreements, notably the lower rate of critical analysis in this sample of non-traditional pupil diaries. Langer explained some possible grounds for this disagreement such as the professor ‘s possible deficiency of direction or deficiency of apprehension by the pupil. However, nowhere did Langer see that the possibility is that the sample size provided a limited range to let for this comparing.

Although Arthur Langer ‘s research should hold voice in the duologue on brooding acquisition through diaries, his deficiency of justification for the range of his survey left this research worker to oppugn the significance this survey has in relation to others of its sort. Langer is a research worker whose organisation allowed for easy comprehension of his idea procedure, nevertheless, he failed to explicate the significance of his focal point on non-traditional pupils, apparently ignored the possible bounds of his sample, did non explicate in deepness his instrument of pick for measuring diaries and unfortunately did non advert any of this surveies possible restrictions in his account of findings. This research worker has learned non merely the value of the subject of larning diaries through Langer ‘s in depth analysis and reappraisal, but besides the importance of explicating and warranting the range of the survey being presented. If this research worker hope to make surveies that stand up to future examination and let for others to prove the cogency of the statements presented, it is besides of import to clearly explicate the instrument used in the research enterprise. Finally, it is humbling to observe that no affair the preciseness of research and application of methodological analysis, all research inherently comes with research worker prejudices and restrictions. It is wise to retrieve this, lest the survey be dismissed as undependable or unrealistic for deficiency of admiting these restrictions.