Reflection On Cultural Event And Importance Of Gibbs Reflective Learning Cycle

Introduction and Background

Being a part of a global university gives a person and opportunity to student to learn and interact with student studying across the globe and prepare oneself to face the challenges in the future. My college due to its international affiliation holds a lot of guest lectures, cultural events and industry meetings for the benefit of the student. I myself have been part of a cultural event committee wherein I was responsible to get sponsorship for the cultural fests. It was a great learning event for me as I visited various corporate and retail organizations and overcome their objection to sponsor the event. It was a great learning activity for me, and the experience of it is something which I would remember for a large part of my life.

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As a part of this reflection report, I will discuss about the event in which I actively participated and why this event holds significant importance to me. Further to this I would use a model of reflection which helped me in preserving my learning and carrying it forward for the future. Towards the end, the report would mention how effective my learning has been through the reflection lens.

I am indicating on one of the cultural event which took at my place. The agenda of the cultural event was to engage the student and provide them with a real time handling of the event. As a part of the cultural committee which was to organize the event end to end, the first task at hand was deciding on the agenda of the program.

We all unanimously decided to get some outdoor activities for the students along with a music and food festival for the event. We then calculated the budgetary requirement for the event, and also planned for arranging the funds for the event. We also decided to create T-Shirts by the name of the Event “Confluenza”. We decided to keep the event closed, as in the event can only be attended by the student, professors and their families and nobody from the outside world. Thus, we had to collect a lot of funds and finds sponsors who can fund our event and help us in making it a good success.

I was a part of the sponsorship team and deciding on the sponsors to be approached. I was given this duty because firstly I had some experience in getting sponsors during my earlier events and also because I have good negotiation skills, which gives me an upper hand while handling the objection of sponsors.

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Organizing the Cultural Event

Being an international student, it was my first experience in meeting the international sponsors. In order to effectively communicate with them and convince them to be a part of the sponsors it was most definitely a challenging task, due to high cultural difference. Thus, I had to learn a lot of mannerism, attitude of the British people and tried to be as much inclined as possible to their likes, dislikes and their areas of interest.

This made me learn a lot about British culture, about their weather, their punctuality and discipline, their way of thinking and about their favourite sports and many such techniques. I also watched a lot of online content on YouTube to see how funding activities takes place in a systematic manner and what is the right way to approach a company for sponsorship opportunities. Thus, the event was an eye opener for e and I faced many challenges, however at the last I succeeded in completing 80% of the target from the sponsors I was supposed to achieve for the event.

There are a number of reflective models but I am particularly comfortable with the Gibbs reflective cycle model of 1988, which is loosely based on the Kolb’s experiential cycle. The model in full swing suggested how a fully structural analysis of the situation can take place by being proactive and asking questions at each stage of the learning cycle. 

This is a representation of the model with an example of different questions asked at each stage of the Gibbs cycle. The various stages of reflective learning of the Gibbs reflective learning model are:

  • Initial experience
  • Description
  • Feeling/Reactions
  • Evaluation
  • Analysis
  • Conclusion
  • Personal Action Plan

Thus, the Gibbs reflective cycle helped me a lot in learning about my feelings, experiences and my personal action plan towards my learning and development cycle pertaining to the event.

So, as per the Gibbs cycle, the first and the foremost question to ask oneself is “What happened, provide a description?” The question in itself is thought provoking and summarizes the reflection of the initial experience to the event. My initial reaction can be summarized with the help of the following points:

  • Providing me an opportunity to contribute towards the cultural event of the college helped me feel valued. It also made me realize that I do have certain skills which can be put to better use for the benefit of the college and create a good cultural show for the fellow mates.
  • I was really proud and happy as it was me who asked the committee to give me the opportunity to collect funds for the sponsorship and get the event funded. The logic here was to create a win -win strategy for both the college and the sponsoring company.
  • I in order to approach the sponsorship opportunity in a systematic manner created a list of 100 companies comprising of Retail, corporate, e-commerce and IT companies.
  • I then made my first base of contact with them through linked in, Facebook and Twitter. I also tried to approach some of the decision makers by getting in touch with them over phone through some contact in the college.
  • I created a presentation for the sponsorship opportunity and created four packages on the likes of ; Diamond sponsorship, Platinum, Gold and silver sponsorship. All these sponsorship had different benefits, reach and opportunities for the companies.
  • Towards the end I was able to achieve 80% of the target I was given initially towards the sponsorship opportunities.

Thus, the Gibbs reflective learning cycle helped me in better expressing the feeling and emotions I felt during the event. This initial reaction I gauged through the Gibbs reflective learning cycle has helped me a lot to brush my skills in reflection.

As mentioned earlier there are other reflective models such as John’s, Driscoll and many others. In my opinion using other models of reflection I would have not been in a position to better express my reaction and feelings. The Gibbs reflective model is one model which by the virtue of asking descriptive question helps in better reflection on my learning and development. Hence, if I would have used any other models I would have not been in a position to better reflect on my learning.

Gibbs Reflective Learning Cycle

Reflection as is known is the ability of a person to gauge on his own experiences and develop learning out of that reflection. Reflection is an effective practice which helps in the overall development of the individual by analysing the lacunae in one’s own personality. Before joining the university I was completely aware of the concept of reflection and the potential benefits of this exercise. But now, when I look at myself I feel that I am a better individual and have adopted a scientific and systematic method of learning about myself. For instance, being a part of the event which was organized at the event, I could do a SWOT and a SOAR analysis for myself, based on which I even created my SMART goals and objective for the future.

Most definitely, there has been a change in my personality and attitude as I have learnt a scientific way of learning and approaching things. Reflection has given me an attitude which is based on evidence, experiential learning and my aspiration based on my reflective learning. My attitude has become more and more positive and I look forward to work on challenging tasks to further expand the horizons of my learning.

Conclusion

Reflection in the simplest words is about student or an individual becoming self-aware of their own thinking process, and also makes the thinking transparent to others. Reflection refers to the assessment of the “why” and “how” and what has to be done as the resultant of the learning. I particularly use the Gibbs reflective cycle of Learning while analysing and reflecting on my learning cycle. For instance, after being a part of the cultural event at my college I got to learn a lot about my strength and weakness and also learnt about how I approach to things and make them in my favour. Thus, reflection is an apt exercise for an individual to become self-aware and create developmental goals for self.

Being a kid I used to play with my mother in the Kitchen and quite often got hurt, once I placed my fingers in the electrical socket and got a massive shock. This in my mind got registered as, electrical socket=danger (Never to meddle with it and put my hand). Now this example isn’t based on reflective learning, and it’s more of a causal effect. Reflection or reflective learning is more about being self-aware of one’s own surrounding, attitude and behaviour. For instance, as a kid I was extremely distracted, most of my attention was towards the lunch hours, play field, cafeteria and playing with my friends. Due to such high distraction I failed in Maths. I knew exactly why I failed; I failed in Maths because I was distracted. Hence I was able to reflect on my behaviour which led me to fail in the Maths exam. Most of the students however are really not self -aware and cannot find a reason behind certain attitude and behaviour in their personality(Bell, 2018).

Importance of Reflection in Learning Cycle

Drawing from the Preamble which serves as an introduction to the reflective summative report, the purpose of the assignment here is to understand why reflection is important and what values it could bring to the person’s professional development. I am particularly a promoter of Gibbs reflective model; hence the assignment will give insights into the reflective model. I will also present my learning from the module of PPDI and how does my learning differ from the previous knowledge in these areas. Towards the end, I will explain how acquisition of this knowledge of PPDI model helped my thinking and outlook towards things.

Reflecting and composing a page of self -reflective learning has become an increasing important element to any form of study or learning. Reflection helps in developing one’s skills and reviews their effectiveness.  Reflection is most definitely an improvement over the earlier practices which did not follow a systematic pattern of learning(Gay & Kirkland, 2003).

One important attribute which emphasizes the importance of reflection in the learning is to become more and more self- aware of oneself, attitudes, behaviour and certain other characteristics(Zimmerman, 2000). Successful leaders in the past and present have been using reflective learning to better sharpen their gap areas and also to become self -aware and scale the envisioned heights for themselves. In simple words, by asking simple question to oneself, a person develops and understands his own strength and weakness, which can be further leveraged to create personal and professional goals(Furman, Coyne & Negi, 2008).

I personally believe that self-reflection helps in identifying the values a person relates to the most. For instance, my values of Integrity, honesty and commitment towards work and goals make me a good employee. Organization can rely on me, and I can in this manner set my professional development goals. Based on the self- reflection I have created a career development plan for 5 years. All this has been possible after the study of the PPDI module which opened new avenues of learning for me(Sedikides & Skowronski, 2015).

A lot of people are of the opinion that they learn from their own experiences, however if they are not able to reflect on their own experiences and if they are unable to consciously think about how they can do better next time, all the efforts are futile. This is one of the biggest reason why I am such a big promoter of Gibbs learning cycle, as it helps in making the right sense of the situation, and also helps in understanding what went well, and what one can do to improve the outcome the next time(O’Regan & Nestel, 2015). 

PPDI Model and Professional Development

The model which is highly engaging in nature, asks certain question at each stage of reflection writing or description which helps in better understanding the experience and creating learning out of it. The model can be further broken down in 5 steps which goes as:

  • Description- As the name suggest, this step describe the reflection situation in detail. The purpose here is to simply put down everything which happened at the event, which contributed towards the learning(Emery & Chang, 2017).
  • Feelings-This is the next stage under which a person has to express his initial feeling and thoughts about his experience with the event. It helps in providing intangible emotion to the experience(Smith & Roberts, 2015).
  • Evaluation- This is the third step which asks to evaluate the good and the bad of a situation or an event and objectively look at the situation from various angles(Mann & Walsh, 2017).
  • Conclusion- This is the step where the person concludes his reflection piece by drawing conclusion from the situation(Li & Peng, 2018).
  • Action Plan- This is the last however the most important stage of the Gibbs learning cycle, an action plan can be created or drawn from the above 4 stages of situational analysis which further helps in the professional development of individual(Bassot, 2015).

I particularly like this model because it is simpler to implement, easy to understand and covers all the requirement pertaining to the reflective cycle of an individual.

The assignment which was based on PPDI helped me learn a lot about the oil and gas industry, exploration, value chain analysis, team working, decision making, marketing research and analysis the trend of the market using different models. However, in order to summarize my learning in three aspects it would go on as:

Decision making is extremely critical to the success of the business organization, and hence most of the organization gives this power to the senior or top management. I learnt how the organization uses various models of decision making such as SWOT, T-Chart, Pro and Con analysis to arrive at the most suitable and a viable decision. I personally started using the T-Chart in taking a personal and professional decision in my life.

The concept of value proposition was extremely new to me, and I only had a theoretical understanding of the model .However, the PPDI assignment helped me in better understanding the rationale of value proposition used by the organization to create value for the customers. I learnt the concept of value the organization delivers to its customers which helps in creating a sustainable competitive advantage for the firm.

Team work has the propensity to achieve bigger and better results for the organization in comparison to one person working alone. The assignment of PPDI was a team assignment involving 7 people to work on the project. Herein, I leant how teams are formed, how tasks are divided and how the task progress is monitored and evaluated to achieve the desired result.

Thus, learning from PPDI has been extremely helpful for me and I acquired new skill sets and also developed new and systematic way of thinking. This has absolutely created a change in my learning cycle. I did reflect on my learning from the PPDI module, because I wanted to apply the model of Gibbs reflective cycle in full functionality. Thus, PPDI module helped in in getting new ideas on how things are done in teams and what makes a team really click.

Conclusion

As mentioned earlier, I had literally zero idea on creating Gantt chart, neither had a practical exposure to it. But, I learnt it on my own looking at various video tutorial and subject module distributed in the class. Based on my learning of the Gantt chart I was able to come up with the Gantt chart for the PPDI assignment. My learning has expanded and I am extremely happy, content and proud that I learnt a useful tool.

My knowledge has significantly expanded, thanks to the reflective model of learning and the assignment. I got to know that there is always a systematic way of approaching towards a problem and coming up with a solution. A systematic and scientific way of thinking has surfaced in my mind, and henceforth I have started approaching various situations in my life differently. For instance, I was of the opinion that team work is a time wasting activity and its only one or two people who work in a team activity or an assignment. But, I was amazed to see, the way the entire team came together, divided the task, allocated the task, reviewed and evaluated the progress of the tasks and completed it on time. Hence, it was not only an eye opener for m, but definitely set the base for my future endeavours.

Conclusion

Reflection as mentioned is a useful exercise which makes an individual become self- aware of one’s own feeling, emotions, experiences and way of looking at a situation. Self-reflection in totality is the best way to learn about oneself, and this practice has been catching up in the recent past. The times are changing and so are the organizations, they are looking for individual who have high self -awareness and utilize their own learning and experience in their future endeavours. This particular assignment for instance helped me in framing questions for self, which would make me better frame question for self- reflection.   

The SOAR model (Strength, Opportunity, Aspiration and Result) will help in the creation of personal and career development plan and also help in providing a theoretical base to focussed learning(Cole, Cox & Stavros, 2016).

Strength

· Excellent communication skills are one of my greatest strength and asset.

· Relationship building skills.

· People’s Person.

· Quick Learner

· Decision making ability

· Team Player

· Good Presentation skills

· Good Negotiation skills

Opportunity

· The growth in e-commerce sector is a big opportunity for me as i would like to make my career in the online industry.

· Growing euphoria and opportunities in the online space.

· Technology revolution

· Increasing globalization and workforce diversity across the globe.

· Huge gap in the employee market in terms of the digital marketing competency.

Aspirations

· My short term aspiration is to become a part of the world’s largest e-commerce company Amazon.

· I want to work in the capacity of digital marketing executive in the short term.

· Lead and motivate the digital marketing team at Amazon.

· Gain and learn leadership skills in the longer run.

· My long time vision is to open my own digital media agency and handle end to end marketing activities of the clients.

Results

· The result of my aspiration can be measured by looking at my career progression graph.

· Feedback of my peers and managers will also help in understanding my work behaviour and ethics.

· The growth in my profile and salary.

· Change in my personal attributes towards leadership.

· Recognition, award and appreciation from the organization.

These are some of the focus area for my development. I was always amused by the growth and development of the e-commerce sector; this has lead me to pursue my career in the industry. At the very same time, my ardent interest is towards online and social media marketing, and I would like to create strategies for the brand and deliver great results.

Identifying and creating SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Time Based) is the first step towards the professional development plan of individuals. Creation of SMART goals in a framework help the individual to approach ones professional and personal journey in a systematic manner and helps in achieving the desired results(Lee, Hancock & Hu, 2014).

What do I want to learn?

What do I have to do?

What support and resources will I need?

How will I measure my success?

Target date for review of results

Digital marketing skills (SEO, SEM, Social media marketing, influencer marketing, web designing, HTML, content creation and on site optimization and many more)

Enrol myself in a yearlong dedicated program by Google and Facebook

I would require financial resources to get myself enrolled in the training. Along with it I will have to need financial resources to purchase a domain name and do real time online marketing strategy

The success of the same can be measured by my result, evaluation of my performance at the training program. Along with this, the performance of my created marketing strategy on my domain will further help in seeing the progress of my training deliverables

1 Year after enrolling myself into the digital marketing certification program.

31/08/2019

Professional communication, Professional development and business communication skills

I will have to again enrol myself into a training program to acquire the skills which will help me in exceling in my professional life.

The financial resources in acquiring these skills would be less in comparison to training. However, I will have to invest a lot of time and reflect on my learning from my working in the organization.

My success can again be measured by the feedback I received from my Human resource team and other managers

6 Months course

31/03/2019

Leadership development Skills

Leadership has to be highly flexible to better adapt to the changing times. My aspiration is to become a leader of my own business in the longer run, hence for that I will have to sharpen my learning in leadership skill development

The support I am looking forward is from my future organization to enrol me into the leadership development plan.

My success can again be measured by my Net promoter score and my ranking score in leading and managing teams.

I would like to give myself 2 years to acquire, learn and absorb all the skills related to leadership

Short Term Goals- Next 4 Months

· Start my search on the competency required to excel at a job in the digital marketing field.

· Search and make a list of top 10 companies I would like to work in.

· Start collecting data on various training programs offered on digital marketing.

· Apply for Internship programme at Amazon, Facebook, Apple, Tesla

Medium Term Goals –Next 2-3 Years

· Be a team leader of the digital marketing team at my organization and see myself spearheading the social media team.

· Apply for the leadership program at Amazon.

· As a part of Job rotation I would like to see myself creating digital marketing strategies by being a part of the tactical team at my organization.

· Effectively implement and create a motivation program for my team and clear for them goals for sustainability and Personal development.

Long Term Goals-(Following 3 to 5 Years)

· My long term goal is start a digital marketing organization of my own and spearhead the organization by virtue of the learning and experience I have gained in professional journey.

· Create a name and recognition for myself in the digital marketing industry.

· Master the art of leadership and follow transformational style of leadership to lead my future organization.

· Be a part of create for my own an innovative lab to experiment and create the next big thing in the industry.

My life goals are based on my aspiration to be a successful digital marketer and create strategies and tactics to ensure the success of the brand. At the same time, my aim is also to build good relationship with people, master my people handing and relationship building skills to ensure sustainability in my professional journey.   

References  

Bassot, B., 2015. The reflective practice guide: An interdisciplinary approach to critical reflection. Routledge.

Bell, S., 2008. Self-reflection and vulnerability in action research: bringing forth new worlds in our learning. Systemic Practice and Action Research, 11(2), pp.179-191.

Cole, M.L., Cox, J.D. and Stavros, J.M., 2016. Building collaboration in teams through emotional intelligence: Mediation by SOAR (strengths, opportunities, aspirations, and results) 1. Journal of Management & Organization, pp.1-21.

Emery, C. and Chang, J., 2017, July. Reflection in a new light: updating Gibbs’ reflective cycle on a foundation degree in healthcare sciences. In HEA Conference, generation TEF.

Furman, R., Coyne, A. and Negi, N.J., 2008. An international experience for social work students: Self-reflection through poetry and journal writing exercises. Journal of Teaching in Social Work, 28(1-2), pp.71-85.

Gay, G. and Kirkland, K., 2003. Developing cultural critical consciousness and self-reflection in preservice teacher education. Theory into practice, 42(3), pp.181-187.

Lee, J.H., Hancock, M.G. and Hu, M.C., 2014. Towards an effective framework for building smart cities: Lessons from Seoul and San Francisco. Technological Forecasting and Social Change, 89, pp.80-99.

Li, A. and Peng, T., 2018. Observing “Myself” in the Video: Fostering Reflective Practice in Oral Presentation Training. Advances in Language and Literary Studies, 9(3), pp.138-144.

Mann, S. and Walsh, S., 2017. Reflective practice in English language teaching: Research-based principles and practices. Routledge.

O’Regan, S. and Nestel, D., 2015. Reflective practice and its role in simulation. Clinical Simulation in Nursing, 11(8), pp.368-375.

Potter, C., 2015. Leadership development: an applied comparison of Gibbs’ Reflective Cycle and Scharmer’s Theory U. Industrial and Commercial Training, 47(6), pp.336-342.

Sedikides, C. and Skowronski, J.J., 2015. On the sources of self-knowledge: The perceived primacy of self-reflection. Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, 14(3), pp.244-270.

Smith, J. and Roberts, R., 2015. Reflective practice. Vital Signs for Nurses: An Introduction to Clinical Observations, pp.222-230.

Zimmerman, B.J., 2000. Attaining self-regulation: A social cognitive perspective. In Handbook of self-regulation (pp. 13-39).