“Look back so the view looking forward is clearer”
It is true that reflecting on our experiences through the process of introspection can help us gain a deeper understanding of ourselves. This type of self-examination and evaluation is known as reflective learning.
By engaging in reflective learning, we can identify our strengths and weaknesses, and pinpoint areas that we need to work on in order to improve.
In this blog, we will delve into the various techniques and strategies for reflective learning, and how they can be beneficial in the learning process.
Reflective learning: Building solid foundations?
While a lot of people confuse active learning and reflective learning, to define, reflective learning is a process in which individuals actively think about and reflect upon their own learning experiences. This type of learning encourages individuals to consider the thoughts and feelings they had while learning and how those thoughts and feelings affected their understanding of the material. Reflective learning is a valuable skill for all learners of all ages and levels.
Gibb’s Reflective Cycle is one of the useful models for building solid foundations in reflective learning. It has six stages of the cycle and provides a structured approach for individuals to reflect on their experiences and learn from them.
The first stage, Description, allows individuals to describe the situation that was encountered and to provide context for their reflections. This stage sets the scene for the rest of the cycle and helps to ensure that the reflections are grounded in a specific event or experience.
The second stage, Feelings, encourages individuals to reflect on their emotions and feelings during the experience. This stage helps individuals to understand the impact of the experience on them and to gain insight into their own reactions.
The third stage, Evaluation, involves assessing the experience and considering what went well and what could have been done differently. This stage helps individuals to identify areas for improvement and to develop a sense of self-awareness.
The fourth stage, Analysis, involves breaking down the experience and examining it in more detail. This stage helps individuals to understand the underlying causes of their experiences and to identify patterns in their behavior.
The fifth stage, Conclusion, involves drawing conclusions from the experience and generating new insights. This stage helps individuals to understand the broader implications of their experiences and to identify opportunities for future learning.
- Action Plan
The final stage, Action Plan, involves making a plan for how to apply what was learned in future similar situations. This stage helps individuals to take their new insights and apply them in practical ways, which is crucial for long-term learning and development.
How to engage in reflective learning: Strategies to use
Learners can apply various strategies to engage in reflective learning. Some of the effective strategies you can use to engage and imply to your to day to day learning based on Gibb’s model are:
1. Keeping a recording journal
As a learner, keeping a journal can be beneficial in the long run. Recording your thoughts and observations on your learning experiences can help you identify areas of strengths and weaknesses, and track your progress over time. This way you can make improvements on parts you need to work on.
2. Peer feedback
Reviewing one’s work or performance with others can provide valuable perspective and insights into areas for improvement for you. For instance, having a classmate to work with; working together with someone on projects or group studies can help you reflect on your progress and learning.
It is another important process of reflective learning. When you regularly evaluate your own progress and understanding of the material, it helps you identify do’s and don’ts as well as the room for improvement in areas. Such as retaking your exam paper to see what topics were left to cover or needed improvement.
Asking yourself questions about what you’re learning and why you’re learning it can help you gain a deeper understanding of the material. For instance, As you’re learning a topic, check your understanding of the material by asking yourself questions about it or summarizing what you’ve learned in your own words.
Re-reading, re-watching, redoing an activity, or even taking a course you took before, can give you a new perspective and renewed understanding of the material.
6. Concept mapping
Creating visual connections of the relationships between concepts you’re learning can help you understand how they’re interconnected. Asking students during lectures to form visual connections among the main concepts and each topic can help students achieve meaningful learning and integrate new information into their existing knowledge.
7. Reflective writing
Writing a paper or an essay that reflects on what you’ve learned can help you gain a deeper understanding of the material and organize your thoughts. As you learn a topic, and you tend to write it again it helps to see what you have learned.
Reflecting on an experience or activity immediately after it occurs can help you retain the information and extract valuable insights.
9. Seek expert feedback
Teachers are experts in analyzing students’ weak points. Asking a teacher, mentor, or another expert to provide you with feedback on your learning progress, can help you to reflect on how to incorporate or make improvements.
10. Engaging in the topic( Discussing):
A reflective discussion also helps students to stop and think about what they have learned as well as help to grasp new ideas from others. It helps with both critical evaluation and diverging your own perspective from others.
Benefits of employing reflective learning
As said enough, one of the key benefits of reflective learning is that it allows individuals to critically evaluate their own performance and identify areas where they can improve. This also leads to increased motivation and a greater sense of control over one’s own learning in learners.
Reflective learning also encourages learners to take responsibility for their own learning, which can lead to greater autonomy and self-directedness.
As learners develop the ability to analyze and solve problems, by encouraging them to think critically about their experiences and learning they enhance problem-solving skills and adaptivity to see different perspectives and encourage them to consider alternatives.
Hence, overall reflective learning help in better retention of material in learners.
In conclusion, reflective learning is a powerful tool that can help students to become more independent, self-directed learners. It is an important educational strategy that helps students develop the ability to think critically and reflect on their own learning. By encouraging students to think about their own understanding and experiences, reflective learning can help them build solid foundations for future learning. There are a variety of strategies that can be used to promote reflective learning. Each of these strategies can be tailored to suit the specific needs of a given class or subject and can be used in combination for maximum effectiveness.