Why Is Reflective Practice Important?

Many educators and professionals hold that participating in reflective practice increases the amount of information retained from a learning exercise. Reflection is thought to be a useful technique for helping to record and retain information when it is practiced during an activity and after an activity. Reflective practice is central to many professional training programs.

According to Learning and Teaching, the theory of reflective practice that is used in professional and educational settings is built off of the framework of the Kolb learning cycle. Constructed by David Kolb in 1984, this learning style’s model is regarding highly in the professional community for its easy applicability and usability. The learning style suggests that there are four stages of adult learning: concrete experience, reflection, abstract conceptualization and active experimentation. Reflection is critical in Kolb’s model, as it comes between concrete experience and abstract conceptualization. Thus, according to Kolb, reflection is a key factor in shaping one’s ability to take real-life experience and derive a higher meaning. Reflection helps one to take newly gained knowledge and apply it to new, different situations to solve problems. Other education scholars contest the Kolb’s model. Phil Race argues that the Kolb’s model is unrealistic and inapplicable to real-world situations. He holds that cyclical models are unnecessarily “academic” in nature and offer little help outside of the academy.