Scaffolding reflective learning in clinical practice: A comparison of two types of reflective activities

M. P. C. Embo*, E. Driessen, M. Valcke, C. P. M. Van der Vleuten

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

26 Citations (Web of Science)


Background: The development of reflective learning skills is a continuous process that needs scaffolding. It can be described as a continuum, with the focus of reflection differing in granularity from recent, concrete activities to global competency development. Aim: To explore learners' perceptions regarding the effects of two reflective writing activities designed to stimulate reflection at different degrees of granularity during clinical training. Methods: Totally 142 respondents (students and recent graduates) completed a questionnaire. Quantitative and qualitative data were triangulated. Results: Immediate reflection-on-action was perceived to be more valuable than delayed reflection-on-competency-development because it facilitated day-to-day improvement. Delayed reflection was perceived to facilitate overall self-assessment, self-confidence and continuous improvement, but this perception was mainly found among graduates. Detailed reflection immediately after a challenging learning experience and broad reflection on progress appeared to serve different learning goals and consequently require different arrangements regarding feedback and timing. Conclusions: Granularity of focus has consequences for scaffolding reflective learning, with immediate reflection on concrete events and reflection on long-term progress requiring different approaches. Learners appeared to prefer immediate reflection-on-action.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)602-607
JournalMedical Teacher
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2014

Cite this