Dublin City University (DCU) offers a year-long 5 ECTS (European Credit Transfer System) accredited module to students involved in extra-curricular activities. The "Uaneen" module has reflective practice at its core and a key element is to teach students to critically reflect on leadership skills gained through this participation. Many students struggle to develop critical thinking skills. This study examined how to rectify this by changing course content of a module within a Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) and introducing a new approach of providing extensive feedback on non-graded submissions.

An Action Research was the preferred methodology throughout the research process, as student involvement was to the fore of this study, student ideas were integral to designing new learning materials. This study was conducted over two cycles with five 4th. year students who provided data through a questionnaire and two focus groups. Students were given access to a VLE that contained interactive videos, Powerpoint slides and reading material to develop critical thinking skills.

The findings suggested students improved critical thinking skills between cycles 1 and 2. The findings add to theory indicating that colour-coded teaching materials are more engaging and can stimulate positive learning opportunities. The key recommendation arising from this study are that reflective practice instructors can aid students' to better understand critical thinking skills by creating colour-coded module specific materials and providing corresponding colour coded-feedback.

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Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-Share Alike 4.0 International License.