Reflection: Your Key to a Positive Learning Experience

Posted: September 28, 2011 in Monday Morning Message
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How many of us have the discipline to notice what we’re doing with our work?  Our natural tendency is to keeping moving forward on the to do list, to forget, not to notice, or to be so caught up with our own world that we fail to be sensitive to the possibilities.  What works?  What doesn’t?  And most importantly what and where to improve or repeat what worked. How do we know if we are even moving in the right direction and involved in the right things? In actuality, we learn more from evaluating what we did than we do from just doing it.Reflection provides the time and space for us to inventory what we learned about ourselves and the experience and helps us determine where we should go next.

There are many benefits to the discipline of reflection, a few of them are:

1.  Reflection gives meaning to the experience.

When we take time to reflect on an experience, we can find out more about ourselves and the situation. Reflection allows us to identify areas where we need to grow personally and professionally as well as calling to mind places where we have strength. This allows us to make necessary changes in the future.

2.  Reflection develops an ability to learn from positive and challenging experiences.

As mentioned above, reflection allows us to make necessary changes. Reflecting about the positive and challenging moments of an experience, we are better equipped to correct our course of action to stay on target or improve in the future.

3.  Reflection encourages higher level thinking as you look for root causes of complex issues.

Without reflection, our raw assumptions usually win the day. Reflection creates the space for us to dig deep into an issue and objectively look for the real or root causes.

4.  Reflection acknowledges gained skills and builds confidence.

We have all heard the saying, “we learn from our mistakes”. While this may be true, we all have the potential to learn from both our mistakes and our successes. Asking ourselves what needs to change and what went well allows us to build around our weaknesses and capitalize on our strengths. Reflection also allows us to identify areas of potential skill development.

Whether you are participating in personal reflection on your day or facilitating a reflective activity for a group, there are many ways to make this process fun, engaging and meaningful. A few suggestions are:

1.  Group Discussions

Tap into the incredible insight of the learning community. Group discussions allow you to gain perspective from a variety of different viewpoints which allows for rich information that will help facilitate learning in future endeavors.

2.  Journaling (writing, photo or video)

Not everyone likes to talk, journaling allows individuals to record their experiences in a number of creative ways.

3.  Social Media

One of the many values of social media is that it allows people to share their thoughts and feelings in a less intimidating environment. Although comments are public, many times people don’t feel the “pressure” of a face-to-face discussion which allows them to be more open with their comments.

4.  Creative Expression

There are many other ways to personally reflect as well as engage groups in reflection. Be creative and think outside of the box. There is a tab on our blog where you can post a creative way to reflect, you can either find one that you have used in the past or come up with one of your own.

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