Research has shown that coaches learn through reflective practice (Trudel & Gilbert, 2006), that communities of practice can assist the reflective process (Culver & Trudel, 2008), and that problem-based learning can increase critical thought by coaches (Jones & Turner, 2006). To help coaches develop reflective practice skills in an online course, the authors designed and implemented a novel assignment combining the principles of a community of practice with problem-based learning. Small groups of students were presented with a problem scenario and then met synchronously online using a low bandwidth group chat application (EtherPad) to diagnose the problem, strategize, and outline a solution. Students were able to conduct group meetings with only minor technical diffculties, and their written work demonstrated that a moderate level of refection had occurred. Future assignment redesigns should allow more opportunities for student-instructor interaction to facilitate greater development of student reflective practice skills.
Driska and Gould are with the Institute for the Study of Youth Sports, Department of Kinesiology, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI.