At the heart of the Ultraversity model of learning is the philosophical belief that reflective practitioners are powerful agents for change in that they know the why and how to do things. Researchers on the Ultraversity degree come from a wide diversity of backgrounds, capabilities, and experiences of learning. Through a structured and focused approach, the Learning Facilitators (LF) work with the researchers to help them develop the skills of reflective practitioners and action researchers. This is done through modeling reflective discourse, the setting up of processes that promote reflective learning, and purposeful dialogue.
Anne Brockbank & Ian McGill (1998:48)
Critically Reflective Learning is nurtured by relationships between teacher and learner, learner and learner and between both with the subject under study. We identified the optimal relationship above, as mutual, open, challenging, contextually aware and characterised by dialogue.
Researchers report that as they begin to use reflective learning processes they increasingly identify issues and questions from their workplace. From this they begin to develop and apply solutions with a high degree of awareness and self-criticality. This rise in the frequency of intentional reflexivity has a significant impact on researchers learning, their working practice and by implication their workplace.
We would think that as researchers become increasingly sophisticated and practiced in reflection that the amount of time they operate as an intuitive practitioner will also significantly increase. This is along the lines of Maslow’s Unconscious Competence – the ability to do things successfully without particularly thinking about them.
The diagram above attempts to show this development where the proportion of time at work where researchers are operating as reflective practitioners (both at a conscious and intuitive level) increases with time spent on the degree (volume under the line on the graph). This process is initiated through directed learning from the LF, but in time the ‘engine’ for change rapidly moves to the researcher working as a self-directed learner applying reflective models. This reflection on action and reflection in action may be as a part of a planned action enquiry. Alternatively, at an intuitive level this may be a response to an increased awareness about their actions, the context within which they work, their beliefs and values.