Documenting reflection – Act2 H817

In Activity 1 of Week 1 of H817, we are asked to consider the role of reflection and documenting reflection, based on a blog article by Michaud (2010).

Notes on article:

Increasing requirement by colleges/universities to require students to practice reflective writing. This goes beyond learning but how they learn alone with  thoughts, feelings, conclusions and actionable ideas. This is “informal”learning.

There are many models of reflection. Example is Gibbs Cycle of Reflection (from the article):

  • “Description – What happened?
  • Feeling – What were you thinking and feeling at the time?
  • What was good and bad about the experience?
  • Analysis – What sense can be made of the situation?
  • Conclusion – What else could have been done?
  • Action plan – What needs to be done next time?”

The cycle allows the learning to go beyond content and make sense of the learning process.

My reflections

Having been engaged in reflective learning since the early 1990’s in my days in the world of Outdoor Management Development (OMD), the idea of reflective writing sits well with me. My work in the field of OMD was heavily influenced by the work of Roger Greenaway. His work back then introduced me to learning journals and diaries. Although I did not learn about formal models such as Gibb’s Cyle of Reflection Then.

View from Plas Y Brenin

View from my old home in the good old days of Outdoor Management Development

 

As a methodology, I use this currently as part of multi session leadership development programmes. In these, I ask people to:

  • Note key learnings and actions from each course day.
  • Review a few days later.
  • Journal weekly as a minimum.
  • Spend time on the next course sharing insights, actions and changes made.
  • If a coach is engaged on the programme, connect the reflection to the coaching sessions.

My reflection style:

HOW: In terms of how to document, that is pretty easy for me: I basically do two things. Linear notes in Evernote, my tool of choice for note taking (sorry One Note), OR graphic notes a la sketchbook style, which I can take pictures of and include into Evernote. Both of these work for me, although I am tending to lean towards graphic note taking to aid my drawing skills.

WHEN: Fairly random really and not regularly.

WHERE: Typically when travelling so in planes or hotels.

As usual this article threw up as many questions as answers:

  • Do I accept using more time up to reflect and if so, on what? If I was to reflect on everything, would I even have time to learn. Perhaps one solution would be to reflect on significant learning chunks such as books, presentations viewed or even core course articles
  • Is it enough to reflect on important “learning content” or should periodic reflection be part and parcel of being a learning practitioner?
  • What is the optimum process for reviewing or reflecting on the reflecting? Weekly, bi-weekly, monthly?
  • Who, if anyone, should I share these reflections with. In the age of social learning 2.0, can I be an anti-social reflector?

References:

Michaud, M. (2010) ‘Reflective Writing for College Students’, Suite, [online] Available from: https://suite.io/343m2gk (Accessed 19 January 2016).
Image Credit: Graeme Tozer via Flickr
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