Investigating the Impact of Formal Reflective Activities on Skill Adaptation in a Work-Related Instrumental Learning Setting
Author(s)Roessger, Kevin M.
Adult and Continuing Education and Teaching
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AbstractIn work-related, instrumental learning contexts the role of reflective activities is unclear. Kolb's (1985) experiential learning theory and Mezirow's transformative learning theory (2000) predict skill-adaptation as a possible outcome. This prediction was experimentally explored by manipulating reflective activities and assessing participants' response and error rates when an instrumentally learned skill is applied in a novel way (skill-adaptation). Participants were randomly assigned to three conditions (interference, reflection, or critical reflection) using three blocking variables: (a) gender, (b) age, and (c) reflective propensity. Participants then completed a behavioral skills training program with embedded reflective activities. Afterwards, participants were asked to complete a novel application task. ANOVAs neither revealed: differences in response or error rates between reflective activity groups, even when accounting for reflective propensity, nor a significant interaction between reflective activity and reflective propensity on response rate. A significant interaction, however, was found between reflective activity and reflective propensity on error rate. In the critical reflection condition, non-reflective learners had higher error rates than reflective learners. Four conclusions based on these findings are offered, along with implications for teaching, practice, and research.