STAT: Opportunities for Conceptual Reflection

We realize that there are times when a more passive student experience (e.g., lectures) is necessary, in particular for efficiency’s sake. However, learning is an active process, and facilitating it must often be as well. To ensure student learning we need to provide opportunities for reflection--requiring students to take control of their own learning experience. We can help by giving students critical questions and then ensuring regular time for reflection. These are not opportunities to assign grades, but rather a chance for students to forge conceptual connections and deepen their understanding.

Sample questions/protocols that would only take 5 minutes to complete include:

Content connections

How does the concept we learned today tie into the last session?

Has my understanding of X changed with today’s session?

In what way does learning today’s concepts tie into learning goal X?

(These questions can be asked of students at the end of each class or delivered online via Sakai or eCollege; and either self, peer, or instructor assessed. NOTE: if you are teaching a large class, a subsample might work well.)

Global connections

In what way is concept A related to concept B? What is necessary for C to be related to A?

(These types of questions can be asked in the form of “draw a Venn diagram of...” or “provide a table comparing,” etc. They can be asked every 15 minutes in class and need not be instructor-assessed.  Peer assessment works well.

If you have other ideas for encouraging Opportunities for Conceptual Reflection email them to us and we can post them.


  1. Rutgers
  2. New Brunswick
Program in Science Learning