Reflective Practice

 

The #LDinsight chat on Friday mornings at 8:00 BST is always interesting. The attendees are mixed and every week is different. Except there are some weeks which are the same. This week was one of those.

The topic was reflective practise:

Note there’s a subtlety in the question; it’s about practise, i.e. “the act of doing something repeatedly to improve one skill” and not practice, the act itself. I don’t know if that was deliberate by the team behind the chat but it meant that people looked at their actions. I do enjoy #ldinsight but find I get more frustrated when questions like this are posed. Why? Because the L&D people in the chat have a tendency to focus on their skills in isolation from the business.

Focusing on your own skills isn’t necessarily a ‘bad thing’- physician, heal thyself springs to mind. If the L&D function can’t develop itself then what chance has the business got? Similarly, the audience for #LDinsight can be mixed from old heads to new recruits to the function. I get that – I wish I had a network I could tap into when I started in training 30 years ago. It would have avoided me a lot of pain and made me realise a lot sooner than necessary that I really didn’t have to know the answer to everything. My concern is that too often we forget to look up and see what our reflection looks like to the business.

Here’s an example. I’ve just moved from local government where Social Workers are required to have reflective practice sessions with their managers. Good reflective practice is based on the following 4 areas:

  • technical–rational
  • practical
  • critical
  • process

Instead of solely looking inside the L&D function, imagine having a conversation with the business about reflecting on an L&D intervention. Instead of it just being about the bums on seats, quality of delivery, or evaluation data, imagine asking the business the following:

  • The intervention was built using this/that approach/model as we know it has worked in the past/elsewhere. Tell us what that meant to you. (technical–rational)
  • The intervention was meant to be easily used in the workplace. Tell us how true this was. (practical)
  • Describe to us what didn’t work and what we might do instead. (critical)
  • We wanted to make it easy to access and be used. Describe what that was like as a user. (process)

You’re going to get meaningful data, qualitative review and more honest evaluation.

Could you do this repeatedly to improve your skill?

 

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