A professional knowledge base for collaborative reflection education: a qualitative description of teacher goals and strategies

M. van Braak*, M. Veen, J. Muris, P. van den Berg, E. Giroldi

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Introduction For several decades, educational experts have promoted reflection as essential to professional development. In the medical setting, collaborative reflection has gained significant importance across the curriculum. Collaborative reflection has a unique edge over individual reflection, but many medical teachers find facilitating group reflection sessions challenging and there is little documentation about the didactics of teaching in such collaborative reflection settings. To address this knowledge gap, we aim to capture the professional knowledge base for facilitating collaborative reflection by analyzing the formal and perceived goals and strategies of this practice. Methods The professional knowledge base consists of formal curricular materials as well as individual teacher expertise. Using Template Analysis, we analyzed the goals and strategies of collaborative reflection reported in institutional training documents and video-stimulated interviews with individual teachers across all Dutch general practitioner training institutes. Results The analysis resulted in a highly diverse overview of educational goals for residents during the sessions, teacher goals that contribute to those educational goals, and a myriad of situation-specific teacher strategies to accomplish both types of goals. Teachers reported that the main educational goal was for residents to learn and develop and that the teachers' main goal was to facilitate learning and development by ensuring everyone's participation in reflection. Key teacher strategies to that end were to manage participation, to ensure a safe learning environment, and to create conditions for learning. Discussion The variety of strategies and goals that constitute the professional knowledge base for facilitating collaborative reflection in postgraduate medical education shows how diverse and situation-dependent such facilitation can be. Our analysis identifies a repertoire of tools that both novice and experienced teachers can use to develop their professional skill in facilitating collaborative reflection.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)53-59
Number of pages7
JournalPerspectives on Medical Education
Issue number1
Early online date17 Aug 2021
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2022


  • Collaborative reflection
  • Professional knowledge base
  • Professional Stocks of Interactional Knowledge
  • Teacher professional development
  • 12 TIPS

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