Learning how to self-reflect on your experiences and developing a habit of doing so, can have a profound impact on your learning. However reflective practice doesn’t always come easy to many. Having some prompts to consider can certainly help. It may be useful to consider the six stages of reflection (Gibbs (1988) and reflect on each stage in turn:
- Description – what happened?
- Feelings – what were you thinking and feeling?
- Evaluation – what was good and bad about the experience?
- Analysis – what sense can you make of the situation?
- Conclusion – what else could you have done?
- Action plan – if it rose again what would would you do?
Download a copy of the ‘six stages of reflection’ template here.
Capturing ongoing self-reflections
It is a typical mistake of many that reflection can be something you simply think about without the need to write it down. Unfortunately whilst the process of thinking is clearly valuable our brains cannot hold these feelings for prolonged periods. It is therefore beneficial if a Log and/or Diary is kept.
Notes to capture reflections are often written, however it is worthwhile exploring alternatives such as video or audio notes, mindmaps or sketchnotes. Tools to capture reflections include:
- Paper and pen (plus a camera to capture digitally)
- Mobile/tablet apps
Ideally this should then feed into a digital portfolio. Developed skills and examples of application can then be captured and used in CVs or within a LinkedIn profile. Examples of digital portfolios might include a website or blog. Such a space could also be used to capture assessment and feedback. Sections of digital portfolios could be private ‘working spaces’ and others open and used as a means of showcasing learning gain and achievements as a result of completed projects. Sections could then be shared with tutors or prospective employers.
The role of social media as a learning support system in project based learning
Below is a presentation given at the 2016 Social Media for Learning in Higher Education Conference. This explores the aims of introducing a digital toolkit (which includes social media and other technology) which introduces students to a support system that will help them engage in feedback dialogue and the recording of active reflection at each stage of the project. In the context of group projects this may include both personal and shared feedback and reflective practice.
Boud, D. E., Keough, R. E. & Walker, D. E. (1985) Reflection : Turning Experience into Learning. London: Kogan Page.
Gibbs, G. (1988) Learning by Doing: A Guide to Teaching and Learning Methods.
Moon, J. A. (1999) Reflection in Learning and Professional Development: Theory and Practice. London: Kogan Page.
Schon, D. A. (1991) The Reflective Practitioner: How Professionals Think in Action. Aldershot: Avebury.