Reflection Connection

Author: Jordan Rogers.

Recently, the Connect team published a research manuscript in the peer reviewed Reflective Practice Journal for International and Multidisciplinary Perspectives. This journal is dedicated to documenting and disseminating research on reflective practices across fields and disciplines to promote learning and foster growth. Importantly, there are few reflection measures that exist in the literature that accurately capture the process of reflection and acknowledge the growth that can occur in a student’s ability to reflect when given a structured opportunity---the Connect team aimed to address this gap by conducting this research!

Care to read the research? Visit this link here.

Reflection in higher education is critical because students’ experiences go beyond grades received for completing their coursework. Creating reflective practices within experiences gives the student the opportunity to articulate their learning and find meaning in their experiences. 

Reflection is seminally described by John Dewey[1] as “an active, persistent, and careful consideration of any belief or supposed form of knowledge in the light of the grounds that support it and further conclusions to which it tends.” More simply put, reflection is a serious thought or consideration. Donald Schon [2]expanded Dewey’s description by emphasizing “reflection in action” or “learn by doing” which is fundamental to Career Connect’s purpose and mission.

Experiential learning or “learn by doing” is the purposeful thread that runs throughout Career Connect at UNT because of the important learning we know happens inside and outside the classroom for students. UNT students are exposed to many influential learning opportunities such as study abroad, internships, on-the-job training, volunteer work, and many more! Interestingly, research shows that students don’t take the time to reflect on their own due to the many responsibilities that accompany student life! [3] Encouraging reflection allows students to evaluate what they learned, determine how it connects to their future, and consider how they feel about the experience.

The Connect team created reflective prompts for experiential learning activities and a corresponding rubric that is stored in the ePortfolio. The prompts provide guidelines that ask the student about the experience they had and the ePortfolio is a way to document the learning that occurs.  The research was conducted to validate the rubric, meaning it measures what it intends to measure accurately. The rubric assesses reflective ability and the growth that can occur over time when given opportunities to reflect. The Connect team believes this practice is critical to development, integration, and growth for students at UNT. The prompts and rubric create an opportunity for students to take a moment to pause and reflect on the experiences they have in college and how it could contribute to their future.

These are the prompts that give students an opportunity to think about their experience and connect it personally:

  • Describe your experience while engaging in the Connect activity.
    • What activity did you participate in?
    • What were your responsibilities while engaging in the activity?
    • Did you work individually or as a team?
  • Explain how this experience connected you to the community.
    • How did this activity affect your view of your responsibility in the community?
  • Describe how your experience is connected to your coursework, skills, and career interests/goals?
    • Please provide examples about how you could apply this experience towards your career goals.
  • Discuss what you learned about yourself through this experience.
    • Did you identify any personal strengths or areas for growth?
    • Was there an aspect of the experience that challenged you?
  • Describe how you felt about the experience.
    • Did you notice any feelings arise before, during, or after the experience that influenced your previous thoughts about your career interest or anything else?
    • What will you take away from this experience?

When students take the time to reflect, they are more equipped to articulate their experiences in meaningful ways to future employers. The research on reflection conducted by the Connect team began in the fall of 2017 and continues today with students participating in experiential learning inside and outside the classroom!

For more information on how to incorporate reflection into what you do, visit our website at and/or contact

[1] Dewey, J. (1910). How we think. Boston, MA: D.C. Heath and Company.

[2] Schön, D. (1983). The reflective practitioner: How professionals think in action. 1st ed. London: Temple Smith.

[3] Eyler, J. (2002). Reflection: Linking service and learning—Linking students and communities. Journal of Social Issues, 58(3), 517-534.