“Reflective Practice is the ability to reflect on one’s actions so as to engage in a process of continuous learning.” – Donald Schön
In research, it is proven that developing reflective-writing exercises/activities will foster deeper learning and reflective thinking, which may lead learners to make better informed judgments and increase their ability to make optimal decisions. (PubMed, 2017) I would like to share with you some reflective practices that instructors can implement to foster students’ learning by encouraging active engagement with learning materials. The University of Cambridge shares several study skills guidelines and one of them that I would like to share is a Reflective Practices Toolkit. In this Reflective Practices Toolkit, you will find an introduction to reflective practice, and what and why this practice is effective for all learners. This site also shares different models of reflection: ERA Cycle, Driscoll’s What Model, Kolb’s Experiential Learning Cycle, and Gibb’s Reflective Cycle and the applicable reflective practice strategies that explain the model and how you can implement this in your teaching.
To share an example, using some of the reflective models, instructors can encourage students to use these reflections when studying (individual or group), and teach them how to reflect on their own learning to further their understanding of the content. Another way to approach this is for instructors to provide a required/suggested environment for students to reflect on such as a mini reflection after each topic is introduced, or at the end of each week to reflect what students learned that week. I have seen some instructors implementing reflective writing before and/or after summative assessments (such as midterms and projects) to help students organize their thoughts and prepare for the final. The website further emphasizes that reflection is a very personal thing and different people will define it in different ways. It is important to remember that there is not one ‘correct’ way of defining what reflection is or how it should be done as a lot of this will depend on your own circumstances.
About the Author:
Bo Choi, M.A.Ed
Instructional Designer, Division of Teaching Excellence and Innovation (DTEI)
Bo is an instructional designer at Learning Experience Design and Online Education at DTEI, University of California, Irvine (UCI). She has been serving in higher education as an instructional designer over a decade, with training and many years of experience in creating effective teaching and learning experiences and materials for technology-infused, hybrid and online learning. Bo uses campus learning technologies to great effect, with attention to universal design principles that provide meaningful and inclusive learning opportunities for students with different strengths and abilities. She joined the DTEI team in August 2019 after serving as an instructional designer at Cal Poly Pomona for 12 years. She has a BS in Engineering Technology and a MA.Ed in Multimedia Education.