Reflective Practice – what does it really mean?

Reflective practice is the ability to reflect on one’s actions so as to engage in a process of continuous learning” – Donald Schon.

Looking back at what you did, and assessing how you could have done things differently, is essential for knowledge and growth. It’s a process known as reflective practice. Reflective practice is an assessment of your learning to help your future development and, of course, it sits perfectly within the Asset Wisdom ethos.

Reflecting on events: why is this important?

We all know how it feels when things haven’t gone quite to plan. Naturally, it can be challenging for you, and you might find it difficult to look back at an unpleasant experience. Yet it’s here when reflective practice is crucial.

Reflecting on an event is important, so you can ask yourself ‘how could I have done this differently? If I had done it a different way, what would be the result?’. Facing these challenging questions gives you a chance to assess the turn of events so you can look at alternative approaches to give you different future outcomes.

The value of the practice: how can you get started?

Reflective practice is personal, so it can be done in a way to suit you. Yet it can be difficult to know where to begin. Here are a couple of statements to get you started on your reflective learning journey:

• Look at what you’ve learnt – what do you think went well and why?
• Think about what wasn’t successful – why was this and how would you change it?
• Consider a different way of doing things – what can be transferred to your current role?
• Plan for next steps – what further knowledge or skills have you identified to help you plan for your further development?

It also helps to consider the five main principles to help you get the most from your reflections:

• Reacting – your response to what has happened.
• Recording – making a note of your feelings and approaches.
• Reviewing – looking at how things were done.
• Revising – assessing what could have been done differently.
• Reworking – changing approaches to suit different outcomes.

Once these five principles are complete, you can then move to reassessing – starting the process again with a different approach to your initial actions.

To support you, we’ve provided an extract form the Public Health guidelines on construction of reflective notes, which is a good model for CPD purposes.

Which model is working best for your reflective practice?

Personal development: what examples are there in practice?

As noted, reflection should be a key part of any CPD activity. At Asset Wisdom, all our online asset management learning attracts CPD credits, so our learning can support you as you look back at your actions for development and growth.

Looking at the practice in use is also incredibly valuable. Reflection has been part of learning in many sectors for a long time. One good example of the practice is how it is used by health professionals. In the past, health care processes have been led by personal beliefs, or demands of the learning provider or organisations. However, it is now moving into the mainstream of educational activity.

The process of reflection can, and should, be done by all learners. So, everyone will have a different approach, reflective practice is a personal thing, and how it is done depends on individual circumstances. The most important thing is that we all set aside time for it. Once we do, we will discover its value and how reflective practice helps us grow on our learning journey.

For more support with your reflective practice, and to discover how our asset management courses can help you, get in touch with Asset Wisdom.

Construction of reflective notes (based on Faculty of Public Health guidelines)

There are four elements that can be completed for each reflective:
1: Why did I choose this activity for my CPD? (Focuses on how the activity relates to your learning needs as identified through reflection on your practice and described in your PDP)
2: What did I learn from this activity or event? (Focuses on your thoughts at the time of the activity and critically analyses any new learning that took place)
3: So what am I going to do to apply this learning in my work? (Focuses on the significance of what happened and why this may influence future learning or practice)
4: Now what am I going to do to further develop this learning and/or meet any gaps in my knowledge, skills or understanding? (Focuses on future actions and plans for further development, if necessary)