Knowledge translation: the role and place of practice reflection

J Contin Educ Health Prof. Winter 2004;24(1):50-6. doi: 10.1002/chp.1340240108.


Reflection is the mechanism by which we contemplate and try to understand relatively complex and sometimes troubling ideas for which there is no obvious solution. Reflection allows us to transform current ideas and experiences into new knowledge and action. Personal experiences and organizational feedback can trigger reflection, whereas a lack of time, available colleagues, and social networks detract from the ability professionals have to reflect. Educational programs can encourage reflection through the judicious use of case-based discussion, formal and informal needs assessments, and commitment to change exercises. Learning journals and personal learning projects are self-directed methods that facilitate reflection. In the workplace, critical incident techniques and debriefing of cases provide opportunities for thoughtful inquiry. Additional study is needed to understand how and why reflection works to transform surface learning into deep learning and change in practice; how reflection enhances the integration of reading, collegial interchange, and classroom discussion into practice; and how technology can enhance reflection.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Education, Medical*
  • Humans
  • Knowledge*
  • Learning*
  • Physician's Role*