There are thought to be three domains of learning (Bloom 1965):
The Cognitive domain relates to mental ability – knowledge
The Affective domain relates to emotional quotient – feelings and attitudes
The Psychomotor domain relates to manual or physical aptitude – skills
People often find the Affective Domain difficult to develop as it can involve changing our views or the way we behave. This takes practice and is often developed when we are faced with situations involving other people e.g. conflict resolution, chairing a meeting, taking part in discussions, working in a team, maintaining a meaningful relationship, coping with a job loss, learning from another person’s situation.
Such experiences cannot always be planned and therefore need to be explored when they take place. This ensures that the learning can be evaluated and decisions made about how to behave or respond next time with the aim of improving the outcome.
One way of developing our affective domain is to reflect on our learning experiences by keeping a reflective diary. We can then keep an ongoing record of our learning and reflections for each episode. We can then add to this the next time a similar situation occurs and evaluate if the changes we made were successful or not and again consider how we can develop further. In this way we can keep on developing as we try out new ideas and find what works well and what doesn’t.
Using a model of reflection can help us explore our learning, for examples the model by Gibbs shown below:
It is important to use a model that you find useful and feel confident with. Feel free to explore other model such as those by David Kolb or Donald Schon as well as others. A model will provide structure for your reflections and ensure you do not jump to conclusions.
The Open University provide a free course that covers relective models Learning to teach: becoming a reflective practitioner
Everyone keeps a diary differently so it is a case of what you are comfortable with. Ensure you make it useful by being honest with yourself and enjoy writing it. It is advisable to write up your reflections as soon as possible so that you can recall all the details and your emotions. This means it needs to be kept handy, so keep it nearby and easily accessible – Googledrive maybe suitable.
It is good to revisit your writing after a few days, as you may see things differently by then or have further thoughts that you can add to your writings. Over time you will be able to review your progress in the areas you have chosen to reflect on. It can also help you to improve your writing skills, organise your thinking and express yourself.
So why not give a reflective journal a try and make a start by focusing on one area you wish to improve and build it up from there.
The 301: Student Skills and Development Centre has more information and links to some resources you may find useful if you want to find out more