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September 04, 2008

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Great post Michele. Too often I tend to forget the power of raising learning awareness and stimulating reflection straight after a learning activity (How will you apply this to the real world? How has this changed your perspectives, what are your thoughts in relation to the new bits of learning, etc...). This post is an excellent reminder and certainly, next time my training plans will include sound debriefing sessions.

I actually debrief using the Kolb's experiential learning model that was drummed into my head during teacher training. Basically, I look at what happened and try to figure out why. I then try to come up with some general guidelines or "lessons learned" or hypotheses. Then I try them out and start the process.

I find blogging helps me to organize my thoughts more systematically, forcing me to reflect on why something happened and put into words some general concepts (guidelines, lessons learned, hypotheses). I then have a written record that I can go back to when I try things out. This is the one thing I have been lack in and I find myself only going back when someone else asks me about it (as you have done a couple of times through the work literacy blog).

A stupid question, Michele: what's the difference between reflection and debriefing?

Emanuele--I sometimes forget the power of debriefing, too, so part of writing this post was a reminder to myself of how useful it is. :-)

Virginia--I see Thiagi's questions as being a sort of extension of Kolb, which is a big part of how I end up structuring most training sessions. I agree with you that blogging is a great way to do the reflection piece. For me, it helps if I have some more structure to use in reflection so that I hit all the pieces.

Sarah--you should know by now that there are no stupid questions! :-) I would say that in one sense, debriefing and reflection are the same thing--we are looking at an event and trying to learn from it. If there's a difference, I tend to see debriefing as something we do with a group, while reflection is a more solitary form. Practically speaking, though, I'd say that reflection and debriefing are essentially the same.

Good blogging prompts, too!

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