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Using Reflection as a Learning Resource: Part 2 of 2

Welcome back, dear Reader! In Part 1 of this post, we reviewed some of the benefits of using Reflection as a learning tool based on the theories of Dewey, Kolb, Schon, Boud, Gibbs, Pedler, to name a few.

  • The first benefit of reflection is to institute a pause in learning. This is an invitation to the Learner to start thinking back on what they have learned and to try and make sense of it, ie, to convert information to memory.
  • Reflection helps the learner make stronger connections between new and previous learning (ie, scaffolding).
  • Reflection helps the Learner make value judgements about their learning.
  • Reflection helps the Learner plan their next course of action.
  • All of these together help the Learner structure their learning, integrate it into their daily work life, and grow in competence and confidence.

In this second and final part of the post, I will recap the training need, and then go onto describe the simple reflective resource we developed as part of our learning academy.

Training Need: As part of a learning academy at my workplace, we provide more than 35 hours of mandatory training to a group of approx. 100 nominated learners over a time period of 10 months. While learners are happy with the training, we wanted to address this cognitive overload.

Solution: The solution was to develop a self-assessment tool as a method of reflection. At first it sounds self-defeating to design one more training artefact as a pause in training. However, we ensured that we built in some features to aid reflection:

  • The self-assessment was designed at two levels: Intermediate (20 questions), and Advanced (30 questions).
  • The self-assessment was completely optional and untracked. To ensure complete privacy we hosted the self-assessment on a 3rd party platform external to our organizational LMS.
  • Upon completion of the self-assessment, each Learner received a personalized report of their performance, including:
    • An overall analysis of their score by topics. This helps the Learner reflect on the trainings they have completed over the last 5 months, and identify which training topics they are already strong in, and which topics they might like to focus on in the future.
    • A detailed answer booklet that recaps each question, the learner’s response, the correct answer, and a short explanation for each correct answer. These resources again help the learner pause and review what they have learned thus far and identify the correct information that should be converted to memory.
    • We also included links to previous training content with each correct answer. This ensured that if the learner had not answered a question correctly, they would not only find the correct answer and explanation for same in the report, but that they would also be directed towards relevant sources of information for revision.
    • Lastly, we included a brief journal page for the Learner with the following questions. These questions are provided to aid individual reflection, take charge of their own learning, and plan next steps.
      • Which topics do you feel most confident about?
      • What are the key tasks and target audiences to which you will apply your learning from this academy?
      • Which topics would you like to improve upon?
      • Which colleagues/ teams/ platforms might you approach for resources supporting these topics?  

The self-assessment was rolled out a little over a month ago. Approx. 30% of our learners have already completed the self-review, and the feedback has been very encouraging. Some learners have told us that this is the first time they have had an opportunity to reflect during a work-related training! Hopefully, more of our learners will take advantage of this simple tool to take charge of their own learning!

Categories: IRL Projects Theories Tried & Tested

Swati Sengupta

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