Postdoctoral Dental Education

Professional Life-Long Learning Plan

Step 2: Linking Objectives with Learning Activities and Evaluation
Step 4: Evidence of accomplishment

Step 3: Self-Evaluation Methods and Reflection Exercises

How Reflection Works

Learning happens through a mix of theory and practice, thought and action, observation, reflection, and interaction. Reflection is the use of creative and critical thinking skills to help prepare for, succeed in, and learn from service experience. It is used to examine the larger picture and context in which the dental care service to the patients occurs. Reflection is used to help residents make meaningful connections between their clinical experiences and didactic material, and in the process develop various life-long learning skills.

Reflection can be meaningful, harmful or meaningless. Its impact depends on how it is presented, when it is done, and what is done with the insights and thoughts. An ongoing process of reflection enhances resident faculty communication and provides with a better understanding of residents' knowledge, problem-solving efforts, and progress. It allows seizing the teachable moments that arise during supervision. Such communication can help in improving care effectiveness as well as resident learning.

For this module the term reflection is used to refer to a thoughtfully constructed process that challenges and guides residents in:

To be effective reflection must take place sometime before, during, and after the experience. In clinical teaching reflection comes after the service experience has ended, reflection at this point helps the resident evaluate the effectiveness and quality of the care provided, grasp their emotional responses to the experience, think about the integration of knowledge and new information, and begin to explore further applications/extensions.