Value of reflective learning for nursing students: case studies of critical reflection within applied Gibbs’ model of reflection


  • Tanja Tolar University of Bradford



academic reflective writing, critical reflection, nursing


This workshop aimed to explore the value and importance of reflective practices in academic writing among nursing students at the University of Bradford.

The presentation is based around case studies of students who presented to academic skills for support following their failed attempts in assessed reflective essays. In guiding students through their academic writing development, it becomes apparent students often underestimate the value of critical and analytical approaches towards academic writing process when they reflect on their own practical experience.

Analysis of the students’ understanding focuses on key stages of learning as outlined in Honey and Mumford (1992) and the application of a process of reflection that is based on Gibbs’ model of reflection but emphasises the importance of involvement of critical reflection. Students’ comments and evaluations of their reflective writing processes were considered and matched with the expectations course leaders hold for their students. This is in line with the importance of dialogue within this approach that McDrury and Alterio have explored (2002).

Responses were gathered through a set of open questions given to students after their assignment submission and further insights through a subsequent discussion with their tutors.

Through this process, students were supported to gain insight and thus bring their stages of reflective learning to a close by learning that reflection is integral part of their learning patterns as well as their professional development.


Author Biography

Tanja Tolar, University of Bradford

Tanja Tolar is an Academic Skills Advisor at the University of Bradford. Tanja holds a PhD in History of Art and Archaeology (SOAS, 2014) and loves helping students with bridging their learning gaps and building their confidence. Tanja is particularly interested in dissertation writing, research skills and innovating embedded writing skills teaching into newly developed academic programmes. When not teaching, Tanja loves hiking in Yorkshire and travelling around the globe.


Alterio, M. and McDrury, J. (2003) Learning through storytelling in higher education. Abingdon: Routledge.

Honey, P. and Mumford, A. (1992) The manual of learning styles. London: Peter Honey Publications.

McCarthy, J. (2011) ‘Reflective writing, higher education and professional practice’, Journal for Education in the Built Environment, 6(1), pp.29-43.




How to Cite

Tolar, T. (2023) “Value of reflective learning for nursing students: case studies of critical reflection within applied Gibbs’ model of reflection”, Journal of Learning Development in Higher Education, (29). doi: 10.47408/jldhe.vi29.1082.

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