Reflection

Information Discovery

One method of teaching is to directly feed information into the minds of students. In training, however, it is much more effective to provide participants with plenty of opportunities to deduce the information you want them to learn on their own. One powerful method for discovering new information and gaining new insights is reflection.

Videos

A trainer can show a carefully selected short video to participants during the training session that touches upon one or more points related to the training. The trainer may then ask participants to split into groups and collaboratively reflect on such a video they have just seen deducing lessons and coming up with new insights from that video. Showing a video is a highly engaging activity for participants and is a sure way to get and maintain their full attention. Each group of participants can write down their reflections on a sheet of paper then come up and present them in front of the rest of the participants.

Games

A trainer may provide participants with a game during the training session that has specific training goals. After the game is over the trainer may start asking participants about what they have learnt from that game. The trainer may also ask them about how they felt at specific times during the game. By allowing participants to reflect on their own feelings and on the development and outcome of the game they have just played they are often able to come up with new insights and lessons from such experience they just had.

Self Discovery

During attending the graphic facilitation workshop, the trainers asked us to draw the process of making coffee. After we finished the drawing activity, they asked each of us to look at his or her drawing of the coffee making process and try to discover something about his or her own personality. I kept gazing at my drawing for quite a while without being able to discover anything really meaningful about myself. Then it suddenly struck me that the drawings clearly indicated that I am a multitasking person who likes to do several things in parallel since I did not draw the process in steps, like most of my colleagues had done, but rather drew all components of the coffee making process as if they were happening simultaneously without a specific order or sequence. I like to finish things quickly and reach for the end goal in a short time. Such was another example of using reflection to gain insight after a training activity this time being a self reflection.

Wrapping Up

After providing participants with ample opportunity to reflect on a video you have shown them and express their findings or reflect on a game they have just played during their training you can then proceed to summarize and comment on their reflections perhaps stressing some of them, modifying others and even adding some insights of your own. Reflection is a powerful technique that can provide participants with deep insights and high rate of information retention if used appropriately by the trainer in various occasions during training.

How else can reflections be used other than after watching videos, playing training games and making drawings?

Switching Attitude 180 Degrees

Avid Explorer

I remember my aunt telling my mom about her son, that is my cousin, that one of his amazing characteristics is that he tries everything and never says no to trying something new. My aunt was saying this about my cousin in a very cheerful and energetic manner. My cousin at that time was perhaps around 14 years old. Upon hearing her words describing what she perceived as an innate characteristic of her son my mind instantly flashed back to a scene from the past when that very cousin of mine was perhaps only 3 or 4 years old.

Never Tries Twice

I remember him standing there in the balcony with his older brother with a deeply sad face due to finding himself unable to ride the skateboard successfully like his older brother. His older brother was trying repeatedly to convince him to give the skateboard another try and that through repeated trials he will eventually be able to use the skateboard successfully.

My younger cousin however was so stubborn and broke up crying while refusing completely to give the skateboard another try. That was the very cousin whom my aunt was praising years later and mentioning that he does not hesitate to try new things and she spoke as though it was some intrinsic characteristic he had!

Attitude Switching

As my mind flashed back to such a childhood scene while listening in great surprise to what my aunt was saying I had an aha moment. I realized that indeed people can and do change drastically in life and even switch completely from one extreme to its complete opposite.

This story really gives hope to those who think they can never change and that whatever characteristics they have are permanent.

Do you remember holding on to some belief in the past or having a certain attitude that you have now completely switched to its opposite?