Thing 9: Reflective Practice

Welcome to Thing 9, the final Thing in the Visual Communicator section of the course. Congratulations on reaching this point in the course. We hope that you've enjoyed it so far. Now that we are at the end of the Visual Communicator section we are delighted to announce that the Visual Communicator badge is open for applications.

Because the Visual Communicator section of the course is so large, we divided it into two options. If you have completed Things 3, 4, 5 & 6 (option 1) then you have done enough to apply for a Digital Open Badge.

Option 2 consists of Things 3, 7, 8 & 9. You must write about your experiences of having completed the tasks in either Option 1 or Option 2 in your reflective practice post.

Thing 9 is a repeat of Thing 6 so may want to read through this blog post simply to refresh your memory before you write your reflective practice post if you haven't done so already.

The purpose of these reflective practices is to enhance your learning and application of skills through critical thinking and self-reflection.

Reflective Practice can be defined as the capacity to reflect on actions so as to engage in a process of continuous learning (Schön, 1983). 

We chose to use a reflective practice blog as an assessment tool as it matches the format used in the original 23 Things. Blogging as an activity is reflective in nature and is an ideal method of self-directed learning. 

Earning your Open Digital Badge

We have mentioned digital badges a lot on Rudaí 23 and have a great FAQ section on them available here if you’re still a bit hazy on the whole subject. You can also read about how to apply for a badge here.

What we need:

To be eligible to apply for a digital badge, the quality of your reflective post will be assessed.

  • We are looking to see if all aspects of the tasks in Things 3, 7 and 8 are completed and you show good understanding of the topics. 

  • We want to see that you demonstrate an ability to appraise the tools based on your experience in using them;
  • Give evidence of their practical application;
  • Give your thoughts and opinions on using them including your problems or successes, likes or dislikes, you don’t have to agree with us, but detail why;
  • Detail any changes you would make next time round.

Reflective writing is something that takes a bit of practice, there are many articles and books written on the topic. Here we hope to give you an overview, along with some guidance and examples to get you started. So don’t panic yet!

How to write reflectively

It’s best to just dive in the deep end here and give you an example of a reflective practice model that is widely used and basically provides a ‘how to’ guide to reflective writing. In this post we recommend using the Gibbs Reflective Cycle:

Gibbs, G. (1988) Learning by Doing: A guide to teaching and learning methods. Further Education Unit, Oxford Brookes University, Oxford.

Things 13, 18 and 22 will provide you with alternative styles and theories on reflective writing, but ultimately your reflective posts for all four Things will be off the same standard necessary for gaining your badge. But remember, they are still deeply personal to you.

Let’s take it in small steps:

Step 1 Description

To help you with the structure of your post, you can begin by describing what you are asked to do. Things 3, 7 and 8 all outline a task for you to complete. You don’t have to go into too much depth here, it’s sufficient to mention the tasks you choose to compete for each of the Things, as options are available. You can also link back to your blog entries for Things 3, 7 and 8 if you completed any.

Step 2 Feelings

To start the reflection process we need to consider our feelings. Was it a negative or positive situation? Did it work and how did I feel about that? What was the end result? For example:

Steps 3-4 Evaluation & Analysis

We now must go further and analyse the impact and outcome of the task. Can you apply any learning theory to the situation? Did you have all the skills necessary to complete the task or was it a steep learning curve? If you had previous knowledge of other applications would this have helped? Did you get any help? Would help have made the task easier? What did you learn and what changes would you make if faced with the task in the future?

For example:

Steps 5-6 Conclusion and Action Plan

Finally, for the deepest level of reflection, you must assess what you would do if you had to repeat this task or something similar, what progress you have made and how your views and opinions of the task have changed. It is the deepest level of reflection. Ask yourself, what did I learn? In what way has it assisted my learning? Could I have applied this task to a situation in the past? Where could I use this knowledge in the future?

For example:

Wrapping up

Hopefully these examples illustrate the difference between superficial reflection and deeper reflection. Atkins and Murphy (1994) state that the skills to write reflectively comprise: self-awareness, description, critical analysis, synthesis and evaluation. As educated information professionals, we have these skills; it is just a matter of learning how to apply them effectively.

Your task for Thing 9 is:

Write a deeply reflective practice post concerning your experience with Things 3, 7 and 8. We understand that it may take too much time to apply Gibbs cycle to each of the Things, so it is sufficient to give us examples of all the tasks you have completed, and choose one or two of the tasks to deeply reflect on for each of the steps in the cycle. Gaining the skill to reflect deeply on your actions leads to further understanding (Smyth, 1992) and reflection is the core of blogging, so we are delighted to accompany you on this process.

Applications for the Visual Communicator Badge are now open. 

Click here to apply for the Visual Communicator Badge.

 There is no deadline to get your application in, it will remain open for the extent of the course.

Best of luck and if you have any questions at all; use the comment feature below, email us at, contact your moderator or shout out to us on Twitter @rudai23 #Rudai23.

Thing 9 was written by Stephanie Ronan


Atkins, S. and Murphy, K. (1994). Reflective Practice. Nursing Standard 8(39) 49-56.

Gibbs, G. (1988). Learning by Doing: A guide to teaching and learning methods. Further Education Unit, Oxford Brookes University, Oxford.

Schön, D. A. (1983). The reflective practitioner: How professionals think in action. New York: Basic Books.

Smyth, W. J. (1992). Teachers’ work and the politics of reflection. American Educational Research Journal, 29(2), 267-300.


The Calendar of Things