The use of reflective practice to promote pharmacy students’ metacognition in a foundation anatomy course.

Wessels Q, du Plessis A, du Plessis A, Bouman D.


Students’ ability to characterise their learning approaches has the potential to enhance their overall educational experience and guide educators to tailor their pedagogical approaches. The aim here, through students’ reflective practice, is to promote their metacognition. Also, to gain insights to pharmacy students’ initial approaches to studying anatomy and their perceived value of anatomy as a subject. The study also aimed to contextually capture students’ perceptions on their transition from secondary to tertiary education. This cross-sectional study entailed the use of reflective practice to promote metacognition in first year pharmacy students (Bachelors of Pharmacy students (n = 67)),
at the University of Namibia’s School of Pharmacy. Results of this study indicate the initial learning approaches of most students to be haphazard. Students used varied, non-departmental resources to guide their learning whilst a few followed structured learning approaches. Results further indicate that students’ gradual transition and evolving metacognition appear to start during the initial few months of tertiary education. This transition appears to include feelings of apprehension, uncertainty and distress. Reflective practice creates awareness amongst students of possible gaps in their learning approaches and promote the value of anatomy as an undergraduate subject. Data suggests that the formal incorporation of reflective practice as a metacognitive learning activity promotes students’ metacognition by elucidating possible gaps in their learning approaches.

Key words: Learning approaches, anatomy, pharmacy students, reflective practice, metacognition

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