What Are Models of Reflection? Models Of Reflection In A Nutshell

A model of reflection is a structured framework for the reflective process with an emphasis on personal and situational analysis and improvement.

Understanding models of reflection

In simple terms, reflection is the conscious exploration of an experience with the intention to learn from that experience.

The learning process can be made more powerful when accompanied by a structure or framework. There are many such frameworks available, with each of them helping the individual act in a more conscious, deliberate manner.

It’s also worth pointing out that reflection is a continuous practice, with insights gleaned from one experience used to better navigate future experiences. As a result, most models of reflection are cyclical in nature. 

In the rest of the article, we will take a look at some of the most popular models of reflection in use today.

Johns’ model of structured reflection

Johns’ model of structured reflection was developed by reflective practices pioneer Christopher Johns for use in the healthcare industry. 

The framework, which can also be used in other contexts, is most suited to the reflection and analysis of complex decision-making.

Johns suggested reflection was a two-part process:

  1. Inward reflection – where the individual considers their thoughts and feelings, and
  2. Outward reflection – where the individual considers the situation in terms of how they acted and whether such actions were ethical. Outward reflection also involves identifying the external factors that influenced their behavior.

Unlike similar models, the Johns interpretation suggests the reflective process is more effective when practiced with someone else – such as a teacher, supervisor, or mentor.

Kolb’s learning cycle

Kolb’s learning cycle argues learning is based on the reflection and understanding of lived experiences. With lessons learned from each situation, the individual can apply new insights to similar situations in the future and begin the process of reflection once again.

Kolb’s framework is a cyclical process consisting of four stages:

  1. Concrete experience – participating in an experience and applying new learning.
  2. Reflective observation – reflecting on the experience without judgment. 
  3. Abstract conceptualization – making sense of the experience. What worked, and what didn’t?
  4. Active experimentation – planning what to do next time by setting goals and determining success criteria.

Rolfe’s framework of reflective practice

Rolfe’s framework of reflective practice is a model based on three simple questions:

1 – What?

  • What is the problem, reason, or difficulty responsible for the individual feeling bad?
  • What role did the individual play in the situation?
  • What were they trying to achieve through the actions they took?

2 – So what?

  • So what does the experience teach, tell, imply, or mean about the individual?
  • So what was going through their mind as they acted?
  • So what did the individual base their actions on? How could they bring new knowledge to the situation?

3 – Now what?

  • Now what does the individual need to do to improve or resolve their situation?
  • Now what are the broader issues worthy of consideration to result in successful action? 
  • Now what might be the possible consequences of these actions?

The model was created by Professor Gary Rolfe together with colleagues Dawn Freshwater and Melanie Jasper. Like the Johns model, Rolfe’s framework was initially used as a critical reflective tool in nursing and other helping professions.

The framework itself consist of probing questions designed to guide the individual toward an increasingly broader and deeper reflection.

Key takeaways:

  • Models of reflection are structured frameworks for the reflective process with an emphasis on personal and situational analysis and improvement.
  • Johns’ model of structured reflection was developed by reflective practices pioneer Christopher Johns for use in the healthcare industry. It is also useful for reflecting on situations where complex decision-making has occurred. 
  • Kolb’s learning cycle argues learning is based on the cyclical reflection and understanding of lived experiences, with new insights better preparing the individual for similar situations in the future. A third model of reflection, Rolfe’s framework of reflective practice, was also developed for use in the healthcare industry and is based on three simple yet probing questions.

Other Analysis Frameworks

Failure Mode And Effects Analysis

A failure mode and effects analysis (FMEA) is a structured approach to identifying design failures in a product or process. Developed in the 1950s, the failure mode and effects analysis is one the earliest methodologies of its kind. It enables organizations to anticipate a range of potential failures during the design stage.

Agile Business Analysis

Agile Business Analysis (AgileBA) is certification in the form of guidance and training for business analysts seeking to work in agile environments. To support this shift, AgileBA also helps the business analyst relate Agile projects to a wider organizational mission or strategy. To ensure that analysts have the necessary skills and expertise, AgileBA certification was developed.

Business Valuation

Business valuations involve a formal analysis of the key operational aspects of a business. A business valuation is an analysis used to determine the economic value of a business or company unit. It’s important to note that valuations are one part science and one part art. Analysts use professional judgment to consider the financial performance of a business with respect to local, national, or global economic conditions. They will also consider the total value of assets and liabilities, in addition to patented or proprietary technology.

Paired Comparison Analysis

A paired comparison analysis is used to rate or rank options where evaluation criteria are subjective by nature. The analysis is particularly useful when there is a lack of clear priorities or objective data to base decisions on. A paired comparison analysis evaluates a range of options by comparing them against each other.

Monte Carlo Analysis

The Monte Carlo analysis is a quantitative risk management technique. The Monte Carlo analysis was developed by nuclear scientist Stanislaw Ulam in 1940 as work progressed on the atom bomb. The analysis first considers the impact of certain risks on project management such as time or budgetary constraints. Then, a computerized mathematical output gives businesses a range of possible outcomes and their probability of occurrence.

Cost-Benefit Analysis

A cost-benefit analysis is a process a business can use to analyze decisions according to the costs associated with making that decision. For a cost analysis to be effective it’s important to articulate the project in the simplest terms possible, identify the costs, determine the benefits of project implementation, assess the alternatives.

Financial Modeling

Financial modeling involves the analysis of accounting, finance, and business data to predict future financial performance. Financial modeling is often used in valuation, which consists of estimating the value in dollar terms of a company based on several parameters. Some of the most common financial models comprise discounted cash flows, the M&A model, and the CCA model.

CATWOE Analysis

The CATWOE analysis is a problem-solving strategy that asks businesses to look at an issue from six different perspectives. The CATWOE analysis is an in-depth and holistic approach to problem-solving because it enables businesses to consider all perspectives. This often forces management out of habitual ways of thinking that would otherwise hinder growth and profitability. Most importantly, the CATWOE analysis allows businesses to combine multiple perspectives into a single, unifying solution.

VTDF Framework

It’s possible to identify the key players that overlap with a company’s business model with a competitor analysis. This overlapping can be analyzed in terms of key customers, technologies, distribution, and financial models. When all those elements are analyzed, it is possible to map all the facets of competition for a tech business model to understand better where a business stands in the marketplace and its possible future developments.

Pareto Analysis

The Pareto Analysis is a statistical analysis used in business decision making that identifies a certain number of input factors that have the greatest impact on income. It is based on the similarly named Pareto Principle, which states that 80% of the effect of something can be attributed to just 20% of the drivers.

Comparable Analysis

A comparable company analysis is a process that enables the identification of similar organizations to be used as a comparison to understand the business and financial performance of the target company. To find comparables you can look at two key profiles: the business and financial profile. From the comparable company analysis it is possible to understand the competitive landscape of the target organization.

SWOT Analysis

A SWOT Analysis is a framework used for evaluating the business’s Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. It can aid in identifying the problematic areas of your business so that you can maximize your opportunities. It will also alert you to the challenges your organization might face in the future.

PESTEL Analysis

The PESTEL analysis is a framework that can help marketers assess whether macro-economic factors are affecting an organization. This is a critical step that helps organizations identify potential threats and weaknesses that can be used in other frameworks such as SWOT or to gain a broader and better understanding of the overall marketing environment.

Business Analysis

Business analysis is a research discipline that helps driving change within an organization by identifying the key elements and processes that drive value. Business analysis can also be used in Identifying new business opportunities or how to take advantage of existing business opportunities to grow your business in the marketplace.

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Published by

Gennaro Cuofano

Gennaro is the creator of FourWeekMBA which reached over a million business students, executives, and aspiring entrepreneurs in 2020 alone | He is also Head of Business Development for a high-tech startup, which he helped grow at double-digit rate | Gennaro earned an International MBA with emphasis on Corporate Finance and Business Strategy | Visit The FourWeekMBA BizSchool | Or Get The FourWeekMBA Flagship Book "100+ Business Models"