Medium shot of Vesa Härkönen speaking during a Splended's training

Part 3/3 – Why learning without reflection is like driving without a map?

Reflection helps us to make sense of our experiences, connect them to our goals, and apply what we have learned in new situations. Without reflection, we risk getting lost in a sea of information, without a clear sense of how to navigate our way forward.

Here’s how we incorporate reflection practices into our trainings and learning interventions at Splended.

We use collaborative techniques where pairs and teams discuss, write questions, find solutions and share their own practices with each other. Workshops are designed in a way that allows for frequent reflection activities. This motivates and increases ownership as learners take an active role in supporting each other. It’s important that the previously learned connects with the new information. For this, we use for example, questions, image prompts, cases and scenarios that the participants need to reflect upon. We make existing knowledge visible and then introduce new perspectives and insights. This creates meaningful structures or schema in the brain which, in turn, help with knowledge retention.

The session was well-structured and for me the most rewarding parts were the group discussions, says a participant in their feedback on our interactive training.

Reflection allows you to track your progress, identify areas where you need to improve, and develop strategies to address them. Without reflection, you risk losing track of your progress and missing out on opportunities to grow and develop. This is why our participants write concept summaries, write mock exam questions on the topic and discuss them with the team so that any gaps in knowledge can be addressed.

Our trainings aim at visible changes in behaviour. For example, if participants need to learn prioritization skills, they learn about poor and best practices, and then craft a playbook or a toolbox to use in their work contexts. This again, increases motivation as the learned material supports more effective and meaningful practices at work.

“The training led to some interesting discussions and some good internal processing about my priorities, reflected one participant in our self-development training. “

At the end of a learning series, learners need to summarize what changed in their thinking. For example, they can use the “four Cs” to reflect with their teams: Connection, Concept, Concrete practice and Conclusion. Another way is to form a line on the floor with these words: Not there yet – On my way there – Already there. Participants can then reflect their learning in the light of the goals and see where they are. This usually creates a lively discussion and, again, boosts learning because they have to go back to what has been discussed. It also allows the trainer to see where they are in terms of confidence. Those who have already reached the goals can mentor others.

Participants in our trainings have enjoyed the reflection activities and typically comment that “the best part of the training was the interactions and focussing on the very practical and actionable items”.

We create trainings that rely on science on how people learn. Reflective practices are at the heart of our designs. Let us know how you want to grow, develop and futureproof your teams. We can help.

Other posts from the series:
Part 1/3 – How we’re coaching our trainers: our learner-centric approach to training design
Part 2/3 – How we’re coaching our trainers: a human doing, not being