pexels-andre-mouton-1207875.jpg Andre Mouton
Self-reflection is supposed to be a game changer. Potentially even a habit that separates extraordinary professionals from mediocre ones? What then is this “power” and why is it so important?

One way to learn about the power of self-reflection is to read about it. There are lots of thoughts, research and evidence of positive outcomes from developing a habit to Stop! and reflect. By reading about it you will for example learn that through reflection professionals examine the way they understand and experience a problem; that it is a personal constructive process of transformation (Marshall et al 2021)  and, that facilitating a supportive, open-minded environment is key to start a effective reflective practices in a group, such as students or teachers in higher education (Marshall et al, 2022).
Another way to learn about the power of self-reflection is to just get on with it – start a daily routine, make reflection a personal daily habit. Just getting on with starting new habits is, however, not nearly as easy as it sounds. One thing that I have personally experienced and learnt during my collaborative online journey with the amazing participants of group three in the Open Networked Learning course ONL, with the assistance of our engaged course facilitators, and, as a result of thoughtful course design – is that the many positive outcomes of self-reflection can be strengthened and amplified if individual reflections are shared with others in a group and if time is set aside to reflect together. 

This blog post is the result of a three step reflection on my learning journey together with group three. First, we where asked to reflect individually on what our most valuable insights to take with us from the course are, how we found collaborating in an online PBL group, what we would like to take with us in the future and whht questions we still have. Then, we shared our individual reflections with each other and our joint reflections with the larger ONL community. This, is my individual final reflection of all these reflections and of my individual professional an personal experience and development from taking part in an online PBL group. 

My key take away from participating in the ONL course is that learning and reflecting together is an efficient way to achieving deep learning. Creating an engaged and personally involved group of learners facilitates not only commitment, curiosity, a sense of belonging and possibilities to learn from others. If combined with a thought through practice of individual and joint reflection about lessons learnt, personal development and awareness also of what we don´t know, and would like to know more about, the learning outcome expands above and beyond the material course content. 

Another thing that I have developed during the course is an understanding of what “sharing is caring” means in an online learning environment. A sharing attitude is indispensable for collaborative learning. But sharing in an online environment, and requiring others to share in an online environment, need to be carefully thought trough. We should for exemple aim to use OER’s and OEP’s at universities (if you are not too familiar with these concepts I can warmly recommend you to have a look at one of my earlier posts, Small steps towards digital open learning creativity), but we need to be aware of our students differing levels of digital literacy, of the different forms of creative commons licences and make sure we have apt knowledge about how we can utilize and develop available online resources.   

In my future practices I will be taking with me a new found curiosity for trying out new online learning tools. And, most importantly, a freshly developed competence and confidence in my ability to successfully try out and use new tools. Learning together with peers, helping each other overcome the (many…) technical problems one evidently experience in trying out new e-tools, have helped me overcome my reluctance and made the entire learning process fun and relaxed. 

For this, and som many other things, I am thankful for the ONL team who created this inspiring learning community. The journey is not only more important than the destination. The journey is the destination and travelling and experiencing together can take you to unanticipated destinations!  


T. Marshall, S. Keville, A. Cain & J. R. Adler (2022) Facilitating reflection: a review and synthesis of the factors enabling effective facilitation of reflective practice, Reflective Practice, 23:4, 483-496, DOI: 10.1080/14623943.2022.2064444

T. Marshall, S. Keville, A. Cain & J. R. Adler (2021) On being open-minded, wholehearted, and responsible: a review and synthesis exploring factors enabling practitioner development in reflective practice, Reflective Practice, 22:6, 860-876, DOI: 10.1080/14623943.2021.1976131

Stop! and reflect – personal development through self- and joint reflection