One of the most interesting concepts I picked up on during my first bout of OU study was that of reflective learning. Carrying out the weekly activities as part of B628 encouraged me to be reflective about my work, and think about what exactly I do on a day-to-day basis.
Being reflective is something we should all make time for in order to truly learn from our mistakes. However, we’re all so busy being ‘reactive’, there often isn’t time!
For me, reflective thinking and learning has been one of the most pleasurable aspects of the B628 course, but I wish it was more straightforward to introduce reflective practice into normal management activities. Unfortunately It’s not easy. Being a manager often involves so much disturbance handling, there isn’t time for reflection – to stop and think if there’s a better way.
End-of-project reviews or the slow period after a big delivery milestone sometimes offer opportunities for reflection on action, but it’s usually already too late to do anything unless the project is recurring or cyclical. When the next project or phase comes along, we can try to apply our ‘lessons learned’ but projects are often radically different in terms of objectives, processes, and goals.
The activities completed as part of the course sometimes felt like a chore, but what I’ve subsequently found is that they were more than just learning activities to be carried out at the time. They are also turning out to be seeds, planted for a grand reflection harvest at a later date!
For me, looking back through my B628 weekly activities has proved invaluable in understanding how I can improve my own management approach in generic ways that can be applied to most, if not all, projects.
Some interesting reading on reflective practice on Wikipedia.