Pharmacy Students' Perceptions of Reflective Portfolios and their Effect on Students' Deep Information-Processing Skills

Hui Meng Er, Marcus Kuek Jia Ming, Pei Sin Keng, Vishna Devi Nadarajah
American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education 2019, 83 (6): 6851
Objective. To evaluate pharmacy students' perceptions of the educational value of reflective portfolio and to gain an understanding of the factors that might influence these perceptions. Methods. Bachelor of Pharmacy (BPharm) students' perceptions of using reflective portfolios were evaluated by administering the same questionnaire at the beginning of years 2, 3 and 4 of the curriculum. Statistical analysis was carried out to determine the differences among the perception scores of different academic years. Semi-structured interviews were completed with fourth-year students to further explore their experiences with the reflective portfolio. Students' deep information processing (DIP) skills were compared with those of students from another pharmacy cohort whose curriculum did not include a reflective portfolio. Results. The students' perceptions of the reflective portfolio improved significantly as they progressed from year 2 to year 4 of the curriculum. The factors that contributed to a positive experience were a clear understanding of objectives and guidelines for the reflective portfolio, useful mentor feedback, a positive learning attitude and motivation, and having a user-friendly technology platform for submission of the portfolio. The students' DIP skills after completing the reflective portfolio were higher than those of students who did not have a reflective portfolio assignment in their curriculum. Conclusion. Pharmacy students' appreciation of the educational value of a reflective portfolio increased as they progressed to their final year, and their DIP skills improved. These findings support the use of a reflective portfolio as a learning tool for BPharm students' personal and professional development.

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