Tip #871: It Helps to be Square

young man taking

“We do not learn from experience… we learn from reflecting on experience.” John Dewey

The importance of reflection in learning has received a lot of attention. Research has shown that when we ask the participants in our training experiences to reflect or think about what they have learned, it can increase their retention by 25 percent.

When we ask them to put what they’ve learned into their own words, it solidifies their learning.

When we ask the participants to write down their thoughts and describe how they are going to use what they’ve learned, we increase the probability that they will both remember and actively apply what they’ve learned.

And when we ask them to occasionally revisit what they’ve written, that heightens the likelihood of retention due to the spacing effect.

I’ve just become aware of a simple but effective reflection form that generates all of these retention benefits. It’s called “What Squares.”

Picture a table with three columns and four rows. In the top row, the far-left column is labeled: “Today’s Date and Time” and the far-right column is labeled: “Follow-Up Date and Time.” The middle column is left blank.

In the rows below, the left and right columns are left blank. Only the middle column of each row is filled in with a geometric shape and some text.

The second row has a square in it, with the text: “What ideas square or align with my thinking?”

The third row has a circle in it, with the text: “What questions are still rolling around in my head?”

The fourth row has a triangle in it, with the text: “What will I change and do differently as a result of what I’ve learned?”

I think this is a very clever use of a square, circle and triangle (which is the symbol for change). I wonder if there’s a way to incorporate the infinity symbol to represent the necessity for continually reflecting on our experience.  What do you think?

How do you encourage participants to reflect on their learning during your training programs?

#lreflection #reflectionform #reflectingonlearning #theimportanceofreflection

May your learning be sweet- and safe.


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