A methodology for learning. Part 5 – Reflection

This is part five of my exploration of a methodology for learning. We started by looking at Context, where we establish a contract with the learner, then moved into Demonstration, where we illustrate our view of the world. From there we Explored, playing with the learning and today we will Reflect.

Methodology - reflection

At the Reflection stage of learning, we are telling the story back, developing our own language around things.

Reflection can be viewed as both internal and external: internal reflection is about holding up what we are taught against what we already know to be true and deciding how it alters us. External reflection is about telling the story in our own words. In reality, we can view internal reflection as where learning really occurs, because it’s here that we actually make the learning our own. It’s here that we are actually altered!

To learn is to change, and changing happens out of reflection: often a stage that is missed in learning, which becomes instead a case of telling people stuff and testing what they’ve remembered. I’m less interested in what people remember, more interested in what they do differently as a result. We need to build in time for reflection, time for thinking, away from the bustle of implementation.

In terms of learning design, reflection does not have to be a solitary activity: we can reflect individually, but also through creating personal narratives or by co-creating group stories. In Exploration, we are playing with the learning, but at the Reflection stage we are codifying what we believe back into our behaviours. Exploration is the place to make mistakes, to make the learning our own, Reflection is for formulating our new narrative, our changed narrative, around our new knowledge and skills.

Part of this narrating is to develop our own vocabulary, to find our own words around learning. Learning is less about repetition, more about finding our own language and meaning within things.

When we reflect on learning, we are asking ourselves how what we are learning fits against what we know already. If we have created the right amount of disturbance at Context and Demonstration, then we should be ok.

Importantly, Reflection is not Assessment (the next stage in our Methodology), although it can, sometimes, form part of assessment! We can use narratives and storytelling to be part of an informal assessment, but if the assessment becomes formal, it should be viewed separately from a learning design perspective.

Reflection is such a small part of the story that it’s easy to forget about it, but if we lose the space for reflection, it’s hard to truly learn.


Q: Does this match with or modify what i already know to be true?
Q: Can i tell this story in my own language?
Q: How does this change other things?


Yes, it’s about making the learning your own, embedding it
No, it’s not a quiz

About julianstodd

Author, Artist, Researcher, and Founder of Sea Salt Learning. My work explores the context of the Social Age and the intersection of formal and social systems.
This entry was posted in Conversation, Disturbance, Engagement, Learning, Learning Design, Learning Methodology and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

16 Responses to A methodology for learning. Part 5 – Reflection

  1. Reblogged this on CharlieRobinson Says and commented:
    Reflection. One of the most important steps in any creative process.

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