What is the Driscoll Model of Reflection?

The Driscoll model of reflection is one of the simplest models you will come across. It was developed by Driscoll in 1994, 2004 and 2007. Driscoll studied the three stem questions which were initially asked by Terry Boston in 1970, they were:

  • What?
  • So what?
  • Now what?

Driscoll connected these three stem questions to the stages of an experience learning cycle, and then added trigger questions that must be answered to complete the reflection cycle. The three questions were developed in 1994, 2000 and 2007. The John Driscoll Model of Reflection is one of the simplest models of reflection.

By answering these three questions, you can start to analyse experiences and learn from these. First, it’s important to describe what the situation or experience was like. The context is essential. This gives the user a more complete idea of what is going on. This is achieved by thinking about the ‘what’ question? What was learnt from the experience? The last phase encourages the user to think about the action that is taken as a result of the reflection. Should behaviour be changed? Must something new be introduced? Or is the status quo sufficiently positive, which means no changes are needed?

What are the steps of Driscoll model of reflection?

driscoll-model-of-reflection

Step 1: what?

To complete the first step of the structured reflection, the following questions must be answered:

  • Briefly describe the experience/situation/incident you will be reflecting on
  • What exactly happened?
  • What exactly did you do?
  • Was someone else involved?
  • Was it a good experience? Or bad? Or both? And why?

Step 2: so what?

To complete the second step of the structured reflection, the following questions must be answered:

  • How did you feel at that specific moment?
  • How you react?
  • Why did you react this way?
  • Did you feel the same about the situation then as you do now?
  • Were you experiencing a conflict with your personal values?
  • Do you think past situations have influenced your experience during this situation?
  • Who else was involved? How did they feel? And how did they react? And why did they react this way?

Step 3: now what?

To complete the third step of the structured reflection, the following questions must be answered:

  • What have you learnt from reflecting on this situation/experience/incident?
  • Could you have prevented negative outcomes?
  • And how could you have done so?
  • What would you do differently if a similar situation were to occur in the future?
  • What could you do to better prepare yourself for this?
  • Where did it go wrong last time and what will you focus on now?

Ask yourself these three simple questions to yourself, then you can start to analyse your experiences. Firstly, explain the main incident, situation, experience, or event which was to set it in context. This initial step is basic yet important as it will give you a clear picture of what you are going to deal with.

Moving on, you will then reflect on the main event, experience or situation by proposing a question: So What? – What will I learn because of this particular situation? For the third question of the Driscoll Cycle, you need to think about the actions. These are supposed to be the actions you will take as an outcome of your reflection. Think about whether you will change behaviour? Or “Is there any need to bring some changes or is it okay to continue it as it is?”

Evaluation

Driscoll's model of reflection is not the most commonly cited, however, the Driscoll model has several advantages, mainly due to its level of simplicity. The three-stage model is easier to remember when compared to other models and more straightforward in nature. If a tool or framework is easy to use, it is more likely you will use it more frequently.

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