The development, application, and implications of a strategy for reflective learning from experience
The problem on which this study focused was individuals' reduced capacity to respond to change and to engage in innovative learning when their reflective learning skills are limited. In this study, the preceding problem was addressed by two primary questions: To what degree can mastery of a strategy for reflective learning be facilitated as a part of an academic curriculum for professional practitioners? What impact will mastery of this strategy have on the learning style and adaptive flexibility of adult learners?
The focus of the study was a direct application of human resource development technology in the professional preparation of teachers. The background of the problem in light of changing global paradigms and educational action orientations was outlined and a review of the literature was provided. Roots of thought for two key concepts (i.e., learning to learn from experience and meaningful reflection in learning) were traced. Reflective perspectives from the work of eight researchers were compared. A meta-model of learning from experience drawn from the literature served as a conceptual framework for the study. A strategy for reflective learning developed from this meta-model was taught to 109 teachers-in-training at Florida International University in Miami, Florida. Kolb's Adaptive Style Inventory and Learning Style Inventory were administered to the treatment group and to two control groups taught by the same professor. Three research questions and fourteen hypotheses guided data analysis. Qualitative review of 1565 personal documents generated by the treatment group indicated that 77 students demonstrated "double-loop" learning, going beyond previously established limits to perception, understanding, or action. The mean score for depth of reflection indicated "single-loop" learning with "reflection-in-action" present. The change in the mean score for depth of reflection from the beginning to end of the study was statistically significant (p $<$.05). On quantitative measures of adaptive flexibility and learning style, with two exceptions, there were no significant differences noted between treatment and control groups on pre-test to post-test differences and on post-test mean scores adjusted for pre-test responses and demographic variables. Conclusions were drawn regarding treatment, instrumentation, and application of the strategy and the meta-model. Implications of the strategy and the meta-model for research, for education, for human resource development, for professional practice, and for personal growth were suggested. Qualitative training materials and Kolb's instruments were provided in the appendices.
0516: Continuing education
0530: Teacher education