Reflection and Learning

Reflection is an essential element of learning, especially for the practitioners, people who are professionally engaged in education and teaching. Reflection refers mainly to the practice of learning through experience, and it is an intensely individual, personal process.

It is important to reflect on the experience we are gaining, or we have already gained, instead of only “living” it. Developing skills for analysing your own behaviour will allow conscious and intentional learning, which is steered by your own work and life, and not just by books, theories, compiling documentation, certificates, and expert advice.

Reflection is where a learner tries to understand (and not only remember) given material or an event and relate it to his or her previous experience. Depending on the approach, different aspects of reflection are stressed, it can focus on the process of reflection, on its objectives or on its results. Thanks to reflection it is possible to reformulate or discuss again certain ideas, and thereby achieve a more in-depth and serious approach to a given problem.

Why do we learn better through reflection? Jenny Moon, a lecturer at the University of Exeter who works on reflection, distinguishes four main reasons:

  • reflection slows down our actions, makes us absorb facts more slowly and forces us to start connecting them, look for references, and begin to ask questions;
  • through engaging in reflection we become  owners of  “learning” - the things we do start to be more important for us; they become “ours” because we have personally achieved them;
  • on a meta-cognitive level we have increased our consciousness of learning - we realise the skills we are obtaining, and we are becoming aware of hidden additional elements;
  • as reflection is usually applied to more complex problems, it becomes a certain challenge for the learner.

Time: 10 minutes

Last modified: Friday, 13 June 2014, 6:27 AM