Monday, 3 February 2014

Michaud’s models of reflection identifies the crucial aspects of reflective learning that will hopefully enrich a learner's experience and ability to take their learning to a deeper level. We know that 'reflection' has been identified as an invaluable learning activity since the days of Socrates. More recently, (ie 1980's) Chris Argyris identified "double loop learning" as an inextricable feature of adult learning.

Michaud's contribution to the debate is to outline her framework and that of Gibbs in terms of 'how' to record reflective learning. Thus from their viewpoint, I have now provided factual information to set the scene and, being of a curious nature, and not content with Michaud's explanation I have also conducted a superficial literary review.  This activity has added to my confidence by building on my own understanding of reflection and allowing me to make more informed judgements of Michaud's article. 
Argyris's double loop learning model

I am also reassured that Gibbs, although easy to follow, does omit important features that Argyris expands upon, one of which is that the progression of reflection is not necessarily a linear one. 'Aha' moments, where connections might be made or insights surface, may occur after the ideas have been shifted to long term memory and consequently triggered by completely unrelated stimulus. 

Judging by the existing myriad of research and articles on the subject I feel that Gibbs, although very helpful and reassuring as a guiding framework, must be recognised as having limitations. I can see how this review of Gibbs has added to my own knowledge of reflection and certainly enabled me to consider how his ideas fit in with with other schools of thought who advocate the need for reflection to embed long term learning. I will certainly use both Gibbs and perhaps Argyris as frameworks when writing a reflective essay or article, ensuring that I return to the reflections to identify any 'aha' moments.

Barnard's observation about reflective learning concerns the difficulty learners have in reflecting on learning from theories compared with learning from activities (Barnard , J. 2011, ELiSS, Vol 13). Additionally, is there a danger that by monitoring the progress of my learning I might lose sight of the learning itself?

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