Adult Learner

Systems Change
Adult Learner > Strategies > Purposeful Reflection

Purposeful Reflection


Reflection can take place throughout learning, supporting critical thinking and Problem Solving skills when learners actively question assumptions, and after learning experiences to support Metacognition. Purposeful reflection on learning is critical for moving knowledge of content and strategies into Long-term Memory. Having learners think about their progress towards learning goals can also shape their positive beliefs about their abilities by helping them understand how they learn and encouraging them to ask for support.

Use It In Your Learning Environment

Purposeful reflection can engage learners with material in a deeper way, encouraging learners to make connections between the course material and real-world experiences or think about the material from a different perspective. This type of intentional reflection, to apply, analyze, and evaluate new concepts, can facilitate the transfer of learning to different contexts. Providing structured time for reflection on the learning process itself can include having adults prepare portfolios aligned with specific standards. This process can foster a growth mindset and is especially meaningful when instructors properly scaffold reflection time, guiding learners to self-assess specific pieces, consider their progress, and look at both strengths and weaknesses with recommendations for future areas of focus. Instructors can also embed reflection into their lesson during reading, independent activities, or exit tickets. Reflection that includes self-assessment or journaling can support the development of a range of skills from Numeracy to Oral Communication Skills such as public speaking.

Product developers can create portfolios for learners to save their work and add comments, using audio, video, or text media, that can be reviewed and built upon by learners and instructors throughout a course. This strengthens the process of learning and memory formation, particularly if learners can see their progress over time. For example, a platform could contain a space where instructors can align assignments with standards, creating a linear and visual map of learners' progress and supporting self-evaluation.

Factors Supported by this Strategy