Evelyn Olivares | Tap into the Power of Reflective Learning
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Tap into the Power of Reflective Learning

Tap into the Power of Reflective Learning

The What and Why of Reflective Learning


Take a moment now to recollect what you have learned, go deep into the powerhouse of your mind and think about how learning has helped you, and consider the best way to apply the knowledge you have gained.

That’s reflective learning. Reflection is where the magic happens because it allows you to integrate what you have learned and benefit from the experience.

1 Encourage your people to think

Reflective learning will ignite the spark and get that grey matter pulsing once more. Image you have a team of sales people and would love for them to tap into more inspiration and revisiting effective communication. Do they think they need it? What’s their attitude on telling them how to communicate?

Let’s play…

Imagine you are the sales person, you must respond to a potential customer or prospect’s question.

Stop right there!

Before you go into answer mode…permit me to ask you this

“What might be the consequences if you, the sales person, does not give a the prospect the answer they expect to hear?”

“What is the right way to respond?”

By offering an opportunity to reflect, you’re getting your team to think about and revisit the concepts of sales communication they have already been trained in.

Now go for it… ask your inner mentor or consider how a well respected (external) mentor of yours would do it. Do it now, explain it verbally, or write it down, reply to your prospects question on your product or service the way you think a sales person should answer.

2 Dive deep for a better learning experience

Learning is a process and the best process is, you have them reflect as they learn and they’ll enjoy the experience. Write  it down (writing it down has greater benefits than typing it out) – think about your environment – the culture of your organisation – now,  how can you foster a deeper learning experience.

Let’s play…

You have taken your team to a café for a breakfast meeting… it’s a favourite of theirs for entertaining clients and prospects… this chic café sits proudly on our beautiful foreshore just metres from the low stone walls of the bay… listen to the lapping waters against the sandstone taking you back to a past experience… into reflection… and its makes you wonder… how life could be different with one simple shift. It’s Déjà vu… but, instead of simply following the same pathway … tap into your inner wisdom… how could the conversation go differently? Consider the person in front of you now. What do they want from you – what do they need from you?

3 Improved competencies equals better results for all

Consider this. Reflective learning benefits the learner in two ways:-

(i) Building on existing knowledge; where are they now? what do they know? Have them challenge what they know, ask the question… what don’t they know about what they don’t know.  Where do you want to be; Why? Note the gap.

(ii) Their decisions making skills; They must to be able to understand the consequences of their decisions,  indecisions, actions and in-actions if they are to improve their competencies. Have them reflect on and identify what was wrong with the scenario – and what was right. Ask themselves what the differences are with past scenarios – why is it 3 from 5 times the tactic or strategy works – what about the other 2… why did they not fly… what could be done differently and … Why?

Take a moment to watch this ‘TED’ video  from Simon Sinek – Take a step towards discovering your Why with Simon here

4 Areas of Improvement

It makes perfect sense to use reflective learning in the workplace by way of “think breaks”. Providing times for reflection allows each team member to think about how things could improve or be better explained.

5  Sharing is caring

Encourage your team to take notes, perhaps create a journal on their learning experiences. Whether your team are in the area of sales, training, in small business or corporate platform you might want to consider creating videos or podcasts, or create groups in social media to support your learning program. A discussion board or vision board is also a great idea when working with groups.

The Wisdom of the Ancients

Reflective learning – think about how important it was for our early ancestors to think critically and problem solve – to learn by personal experience. Imagine now, them sitting around the campfire recounting the adventures of the day – the one that got away, or, the one that almost cost them their life, or see them smile as they recount the hunt and capture of the one that they are now able to feed to their tribe. We, as human beings are wired to connect and reflect and communicate creatively.

As leaders, we must lead by teaching our tribe to think critically and – it’s best delivered learner centric and using reflection.