In a health education setting, reflective practice refers to the process of reviewing, reflecting on, and learning from an experience or activity. Reflective practice can be used to help students process and understand their experiences, to identify areas of strength and weakness, and to develop strategies for improvement. Reflective practice can be achieved in a number of ways, including:
The educator's role in a reflective practice setting is to provide a supportive and structured environment in which students can reflect on their experiences, and to offer guidance and feedback as needed. The educator may also provide resources or tools to help students reflect, such as reflective prompts or frameworks.
Reflective practices have been shown to have a moderate effect on learning ➕➕➕ . Further, research with healthcare professionals (including students) shows that reflective practice improves diagnostic decision making ➕➕➕➕ . The effect of reflective practices on learning is greater when students engage in reflective practices for 8 or more weeks ➕➕➕ , they reflect using discussion forums, present at case conferences, and create concept maps ➕➕➕ , and they discussed their experiences with their peers ➕➕➕➕ . Regarding diagnostic decision making, reflective practices are more effective when students reflect using structured questions and prompts ➕➕➕ .
This evidence summary is based on two meta-analyses. The first explored reflective practices in higher education . This meta-analysis included experimental and quasi-experimental research, included 23 primary studies, had a low heterogeneity score (I2 = 0.48), included students from a number of disciplines and backgrounds, and reported a low-risk of publication bias (fail-safe N = 1015). For these reasons, this study was rated as high-quality (5/5). The second study explore diagnostic decision making in healthcare professionals, including students . The paper included controlled studies, analysed 44 primary papers, reported low heterogeneity (I2 = 0.35), and included a number of healthcare professions (from students to specialists). No publication bias calculations were conducted. Regardless, this quality of this meta-analysis is still rated high (4/5).