Reflective writing can be included in a variety of different assignment tasks. It can include keeping a reflective journal or learning log with multiple entries – particularly for professional placements – or be part of an essay or report. Reflective writing aims to get you to think about and understand your learning experiences. This outline is an approach to reflective writing, using a DIEP strategy.
The DIEP strategy
The four steps in this approach (adapted from Boud, D 1985, Reflection: Turning Experience into Learning) are to describe, interpret, evaluate and plan.
D – Describe objectively what happened.
• Answer the question: ‘What did I do, read, see, hear, etc?’
I – Interpret the events.
• Consider why events happened in the way they did. Explain:
- what you saw and heard
- your new insights
- your connections with other learning
- your feelings
- your hypotheses and/or conclusions
• Answer the question: ‘what might this mean?’
E – Evaluate the effectiveness and usefulness of the experience
• Make judgements that are clearly connected to observations you have made. Answer the questions:
- What is my opinion about this experience?
- What is the value of this experience?
- Why do I think this?
P – Plan how this information will be useful to you.
• Consider: In what ways might this learning experience serve me in my:
- future career
- life generally
• Answer the question: ‘How will I transfer or apply my new knowledge and insights in the future?’
DIEP strategy for writing a reflection
In your entries, attempt to:
• analyse your own performance as a learner
• evaluate your gains in understanding and completing tasks
• verbalise how you feel about your learning
• make connections with other experiences, ideas
• demonstrate transfer of learning
• integrate the concepts taught in courses (including the literature where relevant)