Regardless, the data indicate that by being explicit about the epistemic values in science and how to do the science needs to be made explicit to students. Similar to what I have been finding regarding student awareness of their academic skills being developed in their Augustana degree. The data also suggest the importance of giving students the time in class to reflect on what they are doing/learning. As Kimberly Tanner has written in her oft-cited article on student metacognition, just because students are being active in their learning doesn't mean they are actively learning. What this means is that the experience (activity) is only meaningful if students are given the opportunity and prompted to reflect on that experience. Without the reflection, students will not necessarily integrate the learning activity into their existing knowledge structure. Learning is a developmental process that takes time to synthesize our learning with our prior experiences/knowledge. What I find ironic, is that our labs in the sciences are ripe with active learning experiences, but that we so often pack the three hours of a lab with activities that students don't have time to process what they are doing leading to the accusation that science labs are just about following a recipe. This is likely true if students are simply following instructions in their lab manual without taking the time to consider why they are doing things they way they are. I think the prompting to think described in this article is a way of breaking the routine so that students are encouraged to consider what, how, and why they are doing things in the lab.
And that should produce a deeper learning experience.
Rodgers, C. (2002). Defining reflection: Another look at John Dewey and reflective thinking. Teachers College Record, 104(4), 842–866.
Fox, E., & Riconscente, M. (2008). Metacognition and self-regulation in James, Piaget, and Vygotsky. Educational Psychology Review, 20(4), 373–389.
Holmes, N., Wieman, C. E., & Bonn, D. (2015). Teaching critical thinking. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA, 112(36), 11199–11204.