Learn by Reflection
- Learning from direct experience can be more effective if coupled with reflection-that is, the intentional attempt to synthesize, abstract, and articulate the key lessons taught by experience.
- Reflecting on what has been learned makes experience more productive.
- Reflection builds one’s confidence in the ability to achieve a goal (i.e., self-efficacy), which in turn translates into higher rates of learning.
Individuals will learn more effectively when they are given the chance to reflect and articulate the key lessons learned from experience, and that this effect will be greater when reflection efforts are aimed at sharing such key lessons with others. But why do reflection efforts generate an improvement in problem-solving capacity? The link between learning-by-thinking and greater performance is explained by self-efficacy, or a personal evaluation of one’s capabilities to organize and execute courses of action to attain designated goals. Put more simply, self-efficacy refers to confidence in one’s ability to achieve a goal. In fact, the perception that one is efficacious is not based on whether one feels one has the skills and abilities to succeed. Rather, it mainly concerns what one believes one can do with the skills and abilities one may possess thus, self-efficacy represents individuals’ expectations and convictions of what they can accomplish in given situations. For example, the expectation that a person can high-jump 6 feet is a judgment about perceived efficacy. It is not a judgment of whether the person is competent in high-jumping in general, but a judgment of how strongly the individual believes she can successfully jump that particular height under the given circumstances.