Reflection as a Learning Strategy
Reflection as a Learning Strategy
PUBLISHED: Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Many grade school students fall into the unhealthy routine of memorizing information, repeating it, and then forgetting it. After students complete tasks, they forget the important information the lesson was meant for and move on to the next subject, hindering teachers’ ability to teach comprehensive topics.

Harvard students hypothesized and performed a study on student reflection post lesson as a means to solve this problem. After testing their “learning-by-thinking” strategy three times in two laboratory experiments and one field experiment, they concluded, “reflection is a powerful mechanism by which experience is translated into learning.”

In the first and second experiments, participants completed consecutive brainteasers under time constraints. The researchers found that participants who were instructed to reflect after each puzzle correctly solved more brainteasers. However “the performance did not differ for participants in the sharing condition”-- Meaning speaking about the puzzles with peers made no difference in their performance, therefore, participants who reflected internally were more successful.

The third study conducted used employees for Wipro BPO that were given journals to reflect on the day’s events. After 10 days of completing this activity, the workers were issued surveys that mapped their “self-efficiency.”

Through this strategy, the researchers found that self-efficiency “mediates the relationship between reflection and the improvement in learning.” Therefore, “higher reflection will increase one’s self-efficiency and this will in turn be associated with higher performance.”

They did not find any improvement from students when they shared information with other workers; rather they performed more favorably after completing meditation analysis on the task alone. This allowed the employee to think about their self-efficiency, meaning “one’s confidence in the ability to achieve a goal,” which translated “into higher rates of learning.”