Why is reflection critical to the learning process?
1. Reflection enhances meaning
Psychologists have been saying this for decades. Reflecting on work and experiences encourages insight and complex learning, causing the brain to “make meaning.”
2. Reflection improves problem solving
There is a strong positive correlation between reflecting on past experiences and solving new problems. In other words, reflecting on a learning experience makes that experience more productive.
3. Reflection makes a learning experience more productive
Learning from direct experience is more effective if coupled with reflection—that is, the intentional attempt to synthesize, abstract, and articulate the key lessons taught by experience.
4. Reflection helps students achieve goals
The personal evaluation of one’s abilities, strengths, and weaknesses allows one to set a realistic course of action and therefore makes those goals more attainable.
“We do not learn from experience … we learn from reflecting on experience.”