Barriers to learning from reflection: a study of the use of groupwork with post-registration nurses
There are few studies which describe the use of groups to facilitate reflection and even fewer which evaluate the effectiveness of such groups. Much of the literature discussing the techniques used to facilitate reflection suggests that learners willingly engage in such processes and find them enjoyable. This paper reports on a qualitative study of the use of groups to develop learning through reflection on a part-time post-registration diploma programme for nurses. The findings suggest that there are many barriers to learning which must be overcome before practitioners can use the opportunities to reflect on and learn from their experience. It is also contended that such learning may not necessarily be an enjoyable experience. The findings suggest that previous educational experience and the current culture in which nurses and midwives work, impose tremendous barriers to reflecting on, and learning from, experience. In particular these affect the willingness of learners to expose themselves to the judgement of others and their ability to be open to taking responsibility for their own learning. Other barriers to learning in groups are the effects of other group members, their commitment or resistance to shared learning, the ways in which group members interact with each other and facilitation styles.