The experiences collected during the project need be reflected on both alone and as a group. Reflecting on them is aimed leading to understanding the reasons behind and consequences of the actions. This reflection extends from the thorough examination of one’s personal understanding and learning to the consideration of the values of practical working life and culture. Its objective is to reach a new level of the understanding which in turn is a precondition for learning new things. Thus not only “learning-by-doing" but also by putting things in order, reflecting on them and making public one’s experiences connected to doing. The reflective stage is followed by understanding: the learner has learned something new, which can be applied to new situations.
One tool of reflection is Learning Diary.
Dealing with experience is an active process. Recalling of an experience and reflecting on it are connected to reflection. At the back of this is Kolb’s (1984) circle of experiential learning:
The reflective learning cycle proceeds as follows:
1. Action – Doing and experiencing.
2. What happened? - Recalling an experience.
Recall the situation as accurately as you can. You can note down what has happened, repeat it in your mind, or report the situation to your group the way it happened. Also take into account the thoughts and feelings that have emerged, both positive and negative. What did I feel? What did I learn? Reflection will enable you to become conscious of your own actions and learning.
3. Why did it happened? - Reassessment of the situation.
The reassessment of experiences is a central aspect of experiential learning. Endeavour to critically assess what really happened and why it happened. What matters affected that which happened? Think about what could have been done differently and what might have resulted from it? Reflection will help you to form a new understanding, a theory on the subject. New and old knowledge merge.
Reflection produces a new understanding of the matter, a new action mode, etc.
4. Testing a new theory.
A new theory, idea or action mode is tested in practice. A new learning cycle begins in this way