Reflective learning is the type of learning that’s based on experimentation, rather than looking for answers somewhere else, like in a book or on a website. Reflective learning might not be the most efficient way of obtaining information, but the constant application of knowledge and experimentation, while paying close attention to the connection between our actions and results leads to a deep understanding of the subject. That’s why it’s called reflective - it requires reflection on our experiences and results.

In this article, I will explain Kolb’s model of reflective learning. This model consists of 4 stages:

  1. Concrete experience
  2. Reflective observation
  3. Abstract conceptualization
  4. Active experimentation

By reflecting on our experiences, we can discover why and how things happened. In order to prepare ourselves to deal with similar situations in the future, we conceptualize. We try to make sense of the consequences, positive or negative, and link them to our actions. This allows us to come up with abstract conclusions and general rules which we can then apply to our current situation. We become ready to take action again, this time according to our new beliefs and expectations, and this produces new results. We then compare these results with our expectations and use this information to deepen our understanding.

You don’t need to be perfect to start. But you need to start to be perfect. So start today and have fun learning!