What is reflective practice?
Reflective practice is a way of capturing how much learning an individual feels they have achieved and working out what is left to do.
Why does reflective practice matter?
- The SRA have said they will be looking for evidence of reflective practice if they have cause to investigate an individual or a firm’s competence AND
- It is an important part of the learning process AND
- It promotes individual responsibility for learning
So reflective practice matters to compliance with new cpd regs?
Yes, although it would be wrong to think that reflective practice alone will be enough to satisfy the new regs.
How do I get my colleagues on board with reflective practice?
If they are up for using this as an opportunity to make the most of cpd, you could engage them in building reflection into all that you do around performance and cpd.
If you need a big stick, you could remind them that the SRA rejected the idea of re-accreditation, so they might like to go along with this much less onerous approach.
If people are still in mourning for the cpd hour, you could state the obvious and point out that its is a goner (and by the way only 8% of firms responded to LETR consultation about cpd). The argument is lost and this is the new reality.
Is reflective practice a Good Thing?
A lot of lawyers are used to didactic learning; learning by being told. By its nature, many aspects of learning at work are experiential; about learning by doing. Thinking about what you learn and why is half the battle towards actually using new learning in the course of a working day. So, yes, reflective practice, done well, is a Good Thing.
Kolb’s learning cycle describes the learning process:
A good reflective log will capture all the elements of this process and help the individual to consider how much they have actually taken on board and are able to use. For some templates go to RESOURCES
If we do reflection well, is that enough for compliance?
Probably. The SRA has provided examples which suggest that it would do, but the process has not been tested through inspection yet (and it only will be if other problems arise first).
If you do want to use this as an opportunity to review why and how you do cpd consider:
- The business purpose of learning
- How learning can be introduced, transferred to the work-place, re-enforced, developed, supported and recognised.
- What evidence you will need to demonstrate the success of learning (and the fact it was worth the time and money).
Introduce reflective practice for specific events first, well before the deadline for change under the new regs comes into force.
Use a structured approach.
Start as you mean to go on and make it the learner’s job to complete reflective or other learning logs from the outset. Use peer reporting to encourage accountability (and discussion of learning?) and/or set-up routine meetings with line managers to discuss performance and learning.
All of this makes much more sense if you begin by looking at what your business needs and work out a learning strategy which delivers on those needs.