The role of reflection in implementing learning from continuing education into practice

J Contin Educ Health Prof. Summer 2007;27(3):143-8. doi: 10.1002/chp.117.


Introduction: Although the use of reflection to facilitate learning and its application in practice has been widely advocated, there is little empirical research to establish whether or not health professionals use reflection to integrate learning into clinical practice. Particularly troublesome is the lack of empirically based theory underlying strategies to promote reflection and understand factors that influence its use in translating learning into practice. Occupational therapists participated in this case study, in which reflection and implementation of learning from a short course into practice were examined using a multimethod approach.

Methods: In phase one (n = 41), quantitative data were collected from a practice survey, the Self-Reflection and Insight Scale (SRIS) and Commitment to Change (CTC) statements. In phase two (n = 33), follow-up CTC data were collected to quantify the extent of achievement of CTCs. Data from phases one and two were analyzed descriptively to inform the selection of interview participants (n = 10) in phase three of data collection.

Results: Two models were generated. One model describes when reflection was used, and the second model explains factors influencing its use. Participants used reflection before, during, and after the course, and reflection was influenced by a range of factors associated with the course, practice context, and the individual.

Discussion: The theory and models depicting the use of reflection may guide educators' use of reflective learning before, during, and after short courses.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Diffusion of Innovation*
  • Education, Continuing*
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Middle Aged
  • Occupational Therapy / education
  • Ontario
  • Professional Competence*
  • Thinking*