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Reflective Practice and Continuous Professional Development

Reflective practice is commonly seen as a way of improving one's understanding of a subject. It is also seen as an essential part of being an independent learner. During this project, I have been conducting further research into reflective practice with the aim of also seeing how it relates to Continuing Professional Development.

Summary of Research

• Reflection is a large part of the learning cycle1, where students tend to prefer a type of learning (or have their own preferred learning style). Therefore, it is appropriate to design our teaching methods with the purpose of satisfying as many of these learning styles as is possible.

• I also learnt from this source1 that the ultimate aim of higher education should be to produce autonomous graduates who are capable of advancing their own learning, which is achieved by helping students to begin managing and taking responsibility for their own learning, whilst they’re at university. It was indicated that reflection was a part of this.

• My research showed the importance of reflection to Continuing Professional Development2. After reading guidance from the ICE and the Engineering Council3, it was clear to see that reflection was an essential part of CPD.

• Evidence suggests further that being a reflective learner is a large part of becoming an independent learner4. The idea here was that by reflecting on their studies, students can identify errors in their own learning and improve their learning in the future. This results in improved study skills, which ultimately results in a higher understanding of a subject. This links in with the idea of reflection helping students to take ownership and responsibility for their own learning.

• Research also showed the importance of reflection (when linked to professional engineering competencies) to enabling students to take over their own learning and formation of identity5. From this, it was clear to see how reflection can aid students in taking responsibility for their own development, when it is used in context.


1. Houghton, W. Engineering Subject Centre: Learning and Teaching Theory. 2004.

2. ICE. Continuing Professional Development Guidance, Version 1. 2015.

3. Engineering Council. UK Standard for Professional Engineering Competence, 3rd ed.

4. Northledge, A. The Good Study Guide. 2005.

5. Reidsma, C & Goldsmith, R & Mort, P, American Society for Engineering Education. GC 2010-99: Writing to Learn: Reflective Practice in Engineering Design. 2010.