What is reflective learning?

Why is it important for me to reflect on my learning?

Reflective learning enables you

  • to accept responsibility for your own personal growth
  • to see a clear link between the effort you put into your development activity and the benefits you get out of it
  • to help see more value in each learning experience, by knowing why you're doing it and what's in it for you
  • learn how to 'learn' and add new skills over time.

How do I reflect on my learning?

Reflecting on your learning enables you to link your professional development to practical outcomes and widens the definition of what counts as useful activity. Quite simply, you need to keep asking 'what did I get out of this?'

As a reflective learner, you’ll think about how you’ll use new knowledge and skills in your future activities – so learning is always linked to action, and theory to practice. It’s also useful to reflect on how you learn best. This may be through private study, networking with peers, formal courses, mentoring, or a combination of techniques.

You can view a CPD case study as well as example records and plans and see how members have made use of reflective learning.

How often should I reflect on my learning?

Reflection should become a routine part of working life that is more or less instinctive. If you see learning as an intrinsic part of your job, you don’t have to interrupt your work to do it. People who routinely plan, record and reflect on their learning tend to see more opportunities for personal development. It’s a matter of capturing the moment. The fact is, the world becomes a richer, more stimulating place when you embrace reflective learning, because you switch on a kind of intuitive radar that’s tuned to pick up useful opportunities.