Journal of Community Nursing - page 104

104 JCN
2013,Vol 27, No 4
as a learning tool to support and
facilitate reflective and self-directed
learning (
Table 1
There are a plethora of reflective
models available, which facilitate
reflective learning by taking the
student through a list of cues
or questions about a particular
experience (Johns, 2004; Bulman
and Schutz, 2008). Some models
use in-depth searching cues to
trigger analysis and critical
thought, while others allow a
freer and broader approach to the
reflective process with very simple
probing questions (Johns, 2004;
Driscoll, 2007).
However, students who have
not developed reflective skills can
find the process long and time-
consuming. The reflective grid was
designed to help those students
who were still developing their
reflective and critical skills, or who
found reflection difficult. It was
also conceived as a way to facilitate
quick and easy analysis before an
in-depth study of an experience, or
as a stand-alone model for short
The reflective grid can also be
used for professional development
or preceptorship as part of
learning sets, or in preceptorship
programmes where time is limited
(Department of Health [DH], 2010).
The grid comprises a single sheet
of paper. It should be printed or
copied so that students can write
short answers in the empty boxes
as they work through the reflective
process. The layout of the grid
Table 1
) is intended to provide a
framework from which students can
develop reflective and self-directed
learning skills.
The space in the response
column is intentionally limited, so
as to encourage students to provide
concise answers consisting of one
or two sentences or bullet points.
This helps to provide focus and
prevents students from getting
caught up in long descriptive
accounts of a scenario, thereby
clouding their critical thought.
Point 1 requires the individual to
summarise the particular learning
experience, by asking three
What have I learned?
What am I learning?
What do I need to know?
Here, the student should
be trying to isolate the specific
learning ‘moment’ in the scenario,
for example, the importance of
body language in a particular
communication, or the necessity of
receiving updates on non-medical
Even before engaging with the
process of description, which
can overwhelm and confuse the
student, point 2 immediately
requires a critical and analytical
thought process.
Point 2 requires students to
stand back and look critically at a
scenario in terms of their learning
objectives. Constructive alignment
is an essential part of learning,
particularly in self-directed
learning, where the student links
the experience to their learning
outcomes or objectives. This means
applying theory from the academic
aspect of their study programmes
to the practice setting (Biggs and
Tang, 2007).
By identifying this link
between the experience and their
learning objectives early in the
reflective process, students are
critically evaluating their own
learning needs.
Table 1:
The reflective grid
Reflective activity
1. Identify learning experience
What have I learned?
What am I learning?
What do I need to know?
2. I am reflecting on this
experience because ….
This is an aspect of:
Public health practice/children’s nursing/
the health visitor’s/nurse’s role
A health visiting/nursing intervention/skill
My learning for semester 1 for domain
A, B, C, D, etc
My learning for KSF/preceptorship, etc
3. Which reflective approach am
I going to take?
Choice of model/grid/other process
4. Describe the experience
Be specific
Focus in on the experience that gave rise to the
learning or reaction
5. Identify the significant issues
in your learning
Keep it to one or two examples
State what the issues are
6. Evaluate and analyse your
learning issues
Be critical of the evidence you already know.
What does the literature say? What does the
evidence say about what you are doing in
practice? What are the differences between
what the protocol states and what you are
doing? Use policy, evidence and literature to
underpin your learning
7. What is the outcome of this
learning process?
What steps are you going to take to consolidate
learning/improve practice?
8. What will you do differently in
the future?
How has this learning experience changed you/
your views/approach? What is going to happen
as a result of this learning process?
‘The layout of the grid
is intended to provide a
framework from which
students can develop
reflective learning.’
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