Types of reflections

One-minute papers:

One-minute papers provide the opportunity to the students to provide a quick reflection on what they learned by responding to questions such as:

  • What is the most important issue discussed today?
  • What did you find difficult to comprehend?
  • What are some issues or questions you would like to explore further?

One-minute papers require students to spend up to 5 minutes to respond to relevant questions anonymously at the end of the class, or at the end of a series of lectures on a specific theme or topic (Davis, 2009; Fink, 2013). The purpose of these reflections is for the students to develop effective skills in reviewing what is learned and provide progressively more meaningful reflections on the significance of their learning experience. Additionally, such reflections assist instructors to receive feedback on the effectiveness of their instructional strategies and to make appropriate modifications that would enhance students’ learning engagement and performance.

Double-entry journals:

Students jot down quotes, sentences or ideas on text, video, presentation in one column, and in the next column they reflect on them, making connections to own thoughts and feelings in relation to them (Slater, n.d.).

Journal Writing/Learning Logs:

These are extensive reflections on the learning experience that take place throughout the semester, providing the opportunity for the students to make connections between the learning process, the interpretations of their learning, and their meaning making processes. They entail more than personal reflection on the experience. They are a record of documentation on students; learning process, their achievements, thoughts, and concerns.

Learning Portfolios:

In general, the Learning Portfolio has two components: 1) a narrative reflective log; and 2) a list of artifacts or materials that provide evidence and support the ideas and arguments made in the reflections. Learning portfolios can be used in combination with the other types of reflections, one-minute papers and individual journal reflections. The learning portfolio works to help students reflect throughout the learning experience on what they learn, how learning can be more meaningful, and what else they should be focusing their attention to. Students are expected to research, organize data and information, and come up with a synthesis of what they achieved and a reflection on the effectiveness of the learning engagement. For example, students in a geology course may be asked to work on analyzing how agriculture impacts the quality of the local community water. Their learning portfolio, apart from the results of that analysis may also include a reflective piece on evidence of their understanding and how such mastery is relevant and can be applicable to other contexts.

At the end, the learning portfolios can be used to monitor development and progress as a form of self-assessment but can also be used for institutional assessment (Fink, 2013). Therefore, learning portfolios can be used in various ways and their main outcome is the enhancement of the learning experience of the students. Brookfield (1995) encourages students to explore the “critical incidents” and reflect on them every week. Wlodkoski (1999) had the students discuss the challenges and knowledge construction by responding to points such as:

  • The Learning Content: What they have learned on the topic of discussion.
  • The Learning Context: How learning is connected to the other aspects of their life and existence (social. individual, occupations, etc.).
  • The Learning Process: How learning can be done more effectively.


“We are intrigued by the idea that the e-portfolio could be considered something akin to the One Ring – the high-impact practice that unites and connects all other HIPs” (Hubert, Pickavance, & Hyberger, 2015).

These are online reflective portfolios, portfolios in electronic format, developed by the students. E-Portfolios are recognized as the eleventh high-impact practice, that allows students to reflect on their multiple experiences, uncover ways they are interconnected and come to a deeper understanding of their learning progress. According to some scholars, this can be considered as the meta high-impact practice (Eynon & Gambino, 2017), the one HIP to rule them all (Hubert, Pickavance, & Hyberger, 2015). At Carleton University students can develop their cu-Portfolios in their own online space, choose the layout of it, decide whether it is private, shared with the professor, or available to the public, define the purpose of it, and decide whether it is course-oriented or professional for job related engagements. For further information please visit the website of CuPortfolio.