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Reflective writing: Kolb

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“Kolb shows how reflection on an experience leads the individual to form concepts about that experience, and to be able to generalise from one experience to another”

Williams et al., Reflective Writing


Models of reflective practice can be used as a basis for the structure of a reflective essay; an example of this is Kolb’s Learning Cycle (1984).

Effective learning is seen when a person progresses through a cycle of four stages: of (1) having a concrete experience followed by (2) observation of and reflection on that experience which leads to (3) the formation of abstract concepts (analysis) and generalizations (conclusions) which are then (4) used to test hypothesis in future situations, resulting in new experiences.
McLeod (2013) in

Concrete Experience (experiencing something) Reflective Observation (thinking about an experience) Abstract Conceptualism (learning from experience) Active Experimentation (putting into practice a theory you have learned)


Kolb: The Learning Cycle emphasises reflective observation as a way to analyse and draw conclusions from an experience. The aim is to take this learning into new experiences, completing the cycle.