Why ‘Reflection’ Encourages a Better Learning Experience
The process of reflection occurs in many aspects of our lives; whether it’s personal or professional, the events of the weekend or, a recent problem we encountered and how we might have handled the situation differently.
In a professional context, ‘reflection’ often means critically assessing the ways in which we can improve upon a certain task or performance, how we cope with certain situations or even, how we interact with people we meet.
Reflection for Learning
At HT2 Labs, we are passionate about creating features that will enrich the learning experiences of your employees. From gamification to personalisation, we aim to provide tools that enable you to create unique and authentic learner journeys; so learners find their experience engaging, interactive and therefore memorable.
At the end of an activity, goal or the entire course, learners have the option to provide feedback or, ‘reflections’, concerning their own experiences with the content of the course.
A tried-and-tested feedback method (thanks, Social Media!), learners can ‘like’ a piece of content or activity they’ve enjoyed and leave detailed feedback for their trainers. This could include reflecting on what they have learned, how they might perform their new skills in the workplace or, what could be improved upon, what content might have been more useful to their learning outcomes.
Kolb’s Learning Cycle
Kolb’s Learning Cycle proposes that the opportunity to reflect on our experiences is vital to the learning process. By encouraging learners to reflect on the activities they have participated in, they are no longer just focused on the ‘how’ of their task or activity but also exploring why they are doing it.
The cycle proposes that, for learning to be effective, the learner must progress through a cycle of four stages, as seen in Figure 1:
Learners are required to complete each of the four stages. As the cycle suggests, reflection is futile if learners are not then applying these experiences and observations to their job-related tasks.
How Does Reflection Benefit You & Your Learners?
It encourages learners to take charge of their own learning:
Providing learners with the opportunity to share their accomplishments, struggles, even moments of confusion, encourages them to focus on their personal strengths and weaknesses.
In doing so, they become aware of the skills they have developed and, the ones that require some more refining.
This invites them to become more invested in their learning opportunities, the goals they work towards and activities they pursue in getting there. Learners can then begin to direct their own learning.
It builds stronger connections between learning experiences:
Reflective learning is a way of allowing learners to step back from their learning experience, helping them to develop critical thinking skills and, improve on future performance by analysing what they have learned and how far they have come.
Learning-by-thinking enables learners to connect previous learning experiences together. By processing this information, learners can then better understand where certain activities have aided specific skills or, helped them better understand a concept.
It generates useful feedback for better course design:
By providing learners with the opportunity to supply feedback on their experience of the course and its material, you can then make informed decisions regarding the future of your learning design. Combined with the right Learning Record Store (LRS)
In doing so, your courses are primed to supply your employees with the necessary learning they need to achieve their individual learning goals, facilitating a better relationship between workplace learning and your employees.
As well as that, you can then begin to start proving the impact of your learning design, understanding how your learning is developing relevant skills your employees can then utilise in the workplace.
It sparks social interaction:
Social interaction is one of the greatest functions of any LMS.
Reflections can be shared among your learners. They can engage with one another, debate and discuss elements of the course they either enjoyed or disliked, found useful or thought could be improved.
In defending their opinion to their peers, learners are encouraged to provide more useful feedback, thinking about how the learning design can truly benefit their overall learning.
In turn, this benefits you as an organisations by being able to take on board the most popular and vital opinions.
Reflection: Easier Said Than Done
In our experience, most L&D professionals are aware of the importance of reflection for their learners yet, the real struggle is encouraging learners to actually do it.
Below we have a few top tips from one of our product managers on how entice them into doing so:
- Build time into the course for reflection
- Use a tool [such as in Stream LXP (formerly Curatr)] to prompt learners to reflect at the end of a course
- Encourage reflection as a habit within the workplace
- Encourage one-to-ones after key learning experiences that get them talking