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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”
Kolb's (1984) cycle of reflective practice is a model designed to help people learn from their experiences. It can be used as a basis for the structure of a reflective essay, or as a way to structure your thinking. Kolb's model is based on four stages, requiring you to work through each one before the cycle leads to new experiences and loops back around.
1) Concrete Experience
This stage required you to experience something. When it comes to a written reflection, this step usually involves a description of your experience and your thoughts at the time.
2) Reflective Observation
This stage required you to think about the experience. Here you will begin to actually reflect upon that experience. The emphasis is on you, your feelings and the links to your skills, knowledge and prior experience.
3) Abstract Conceptualism
This stage is all about learning from your experience. It required you to analyse and explain your reflection. Here you should focus on the meaning of your reflection and other possibilities. You can acknowledge both things that went well - and things that didn't. You may identity areas for further exploration.
4) Active Experimentation
This final stage is about putting your learning into practice. This is about translating your analysis and explanation into plans and actions moving forwards. You should ensure any goals set are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and targeted.
This stage is also about going off to have new experiences base on this learning - linking you back round to stage 1.