Blogging as Reflective Practice

Posted by Gina Rosenthal in corporate_training | Tagged , , , | 22 Comments

I’ve been mulling this post over for a few days now. But after reading some of Harold Jarche’s posts, I have decided now is not the time to be scared to speak up. 🙂

I know everyone does not understand the big deal about blogging. I’ve even heard it said that if people have time to write a blog, they obviously have too much time on their hands. Well, since my blog is all about corporate education, I want to talk about how blogging is actually an educational tool.

Blogging can be used as reflective practice. Now what is reflective practice? This paper (Blogs, Reflective Practice, and Student-Centered Learning) defines reflective practice this way:

Reflective practice is an approach to learning that encourages thought about what has been experienced and seen, which can then drive new theories and investigations to test those theories, leading to new experiences that may, or may not, validate the original ideas. This leads to them being modified, extended, and refined, and the cycle continues.

So basically when you blog, you have to think about what you have read, how that compares to what you already know or what you have experienced, and that comparison helps you to construct new mental models that you articulate in written form (your blog).

That article outlined the benefits to blogging in two areas:

  1. Activity
    You have to post regularly, you have to think about *what* to post, you have to collect information/experience things and then distill your thoughts so that you can communicate them effectively. Added to this is the experience blogs give you about internet technologies (html, linking, searching, installing and managing blog software, user design, etc). Blogging follows the reflective cycle of planning –> experiencing –> observing –> reflecting.
  2. Social/Pedagogical
    Blogs help form communities. People blogging about the same subject read each other’s blogs, comment on each other’s blogs, and create new posts based on the posts on other blogs. It greases the wheels for the cycle of reflective practice. Blogging helps experts dive deeper into a subject (innovate?), while providing observational materials for novices.

We’re starting to see some reflective practice internally, but not in the form of blogs and definitely nothing that has been orchestrated. So my question is: would blogging work as a reflective practice if we tried to orchestrate it?

Michele Martin over at the Bamboo Blog wrote a post on Creating an Organizational Culture of Reflective Practice where she recommended ways to build structures to support a reflective culture. These structures included creating internal blogs, connecting employee blogs, building blogging into the close of a project, and creating project wikis. Most importantly, she suggests creating “structures and rituals that invite questions, conversation and stories”.

I’d like to see a way to tie blogging to individual learning events, just like K-12 teachers are doing. Not sure how that could happen in a busy corporate environment (esp one that does not value blogging as a way to learn).

One way she suggests doing this is to have your own “Big Question” a la ASTD’s Learning Circuit blog. Since I know alot of EMC folks follow me, I’m going to try it outside the firewall. (cue scary music here!!!) The question is for everyone, not just EMC folks.

Here are the rules:

Answer the question in a blog post of your own. Come back here, leave a comment and a link to the post. If you decide to blog on EMC ONE, don’t add the link here, just let us know to look for it internally. I’ll do a roundup of all the answers I get around December 15.

Here is the question:

Do you use blogging as a reflective practice? Do you blog about things that are directly related to your job duties? Has blogging increased your level of understanding about your role, your organization, or your field of practice?

22 Responses to Blogging as Reflective Practice

  1. Ken Allan says:


    Are you aware that you blog is rejecting links in comments? Here’s the message I get that debars me from putting a standard link tag in my comment to you:

    Sorry, your comment has been rejected because it contained several links starting with with http:// – this is a measure to protect edublogs users from comment spam, we apologies for the inconvenience.

    Please click back and delete the http:// elements of your comments.

    For example: “” should simply be “”.

    Catchya later

  2. Jeff Goldman says:

    My original intent for blogging was to share expertise and also receive feedback and additional resources from my readers. Note: I blog about e-learning and ISD. As an unexpected benefit it has become a reflective practice. For example, I have recently written about working effectively with IT staff and also working with subject matter experts. In writing about subjects like this open up new ideas of how I can improve in these areas and also continually remind me not to “slack” on these approaches, which it is easy to do when one gets very busy or overwhelmed.

    Another benefit I did not expect is the networking with other people in the e-learning field. Some of the the best and brightest in our field are blogging. And both reading and commenting on each others’ blog posts has resulting in much more networking than I had expected.

  3. gminks says:

    Ken, it seems to work for me — I can leave a link using HTML:
    testing leaving a link

    or just typing out the URL:

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  5. Ken Allan says:

    Kia ora Gina,

    I can ussure you that the message I get from Edublog is the transcript I gave in my earlier comment – and it’s not the first time that I’ve had this either.

    But, hey! I’m just the messenger!

    I’m not complaining. I’m reporting.

    Catchya later
    from Middle-earth

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  7. Ken Allan says:

    Kia ora Gina

    I will only attempt one link here, for multiple links seem to be rejected by Edublog.

    My October post was about Reflective Practice in blogging. I have several other posts that are related to this same topic but I won’t link them here.

    I do blog about some things directly related to my job duties. One of them as a teacher, is a main theme to my blog – and that it learning, not just elearning.

    The focus that this has put on my field of practice is in learning and understanding more of how network communities behave. This is another key study that I have done in several blog posts.

    Ka kite
    from Middle-earth

  8. Ken Allan says:

    Here is a link to the first of a series of posts (linked to this one) on Elearning Engagement, a favourite topic of mine.

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  10. gminks says:

    ken thanks for keeping at it – I’m sorry it was so aggravating for you!!

  11. Ken Allan says:

    Kia ora Gina

    It’s not so aggravating as time consuming, for when I get the message, I also lose my comment. I have copied this one 😉

    Here’s my post, Base Words Are uttered, in response to your request.

    Ka kite
    from Middle-earth

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  14. mullygrub says:

    I really liked this post when I saw it up on Twitter and I have wanted to respond but got sidetracked. As part of an exercise which requires me to write a blog post every day for a month I have finally remembered and responded to your questions. Here’s a link to my post

    You may also be interested in Anne Bartlett-Bragg’s work on blogging as a reflective practice – she’s a lecturer at the University of Technology here in Sydney and has written some interesting stuff I used in an assignment last semester.

    I enjoy reading your posts btw – they always seem to provoke thought (and reflection).

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  20. bcoffin112 says:

    I am a social worker in education and I do not currently use blogging as a means for reflective practice? We do use Wiki’s to encourage and foster a community or team, but not via blogging. I would probably not blog about my job duties as most of the job duties in my field are confidential in nature. However, I could blog about the concerns, raised topics, inquiries, and struggles that students are faced with on a daily basis so as to provide my fellow teammates an opportunity to ask questions and help support students. So far, blogging has not increased my understanding about my role.. but I bet if I began to ask questions about how an adult or mandated reported responded to various situations… I may receive good feedback? I will keep you blogged!

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