DeFillippi believe that reflection is crucial to learning because it helps to convert "convert tacit experience into explicit knowledge" (p.6).
Reflective practise, as a concept of learning, was introduced into several professions in the 1980s. The rationale behind it is that by thinking about things that have happened to us, in a different light, we gain more knowledge and a better perspective, which enable us to take some kind of action. It is therefore seen as an important process by which professionals "learn from experience in order to understand and better develop their practice" (Jasper, 2003, p.2). The concept of learning from reflection was a product of the work of several educational theorists; one important figure in this regard is Dewey (1938) who argued that 'we learn by doing and realising what came out of what we did'. However, this theory has seen severally modified and developed by contemporary theorist. One of such is the 'experiential learning theory' developed by Kolb in the 1980s, where he drew our attention to the fact that, when we attempt to learn from something that has already happened to us, we need to recall our observation of the events and then reflect on the observation in some way (p.3). This theory was the perhaps the first to demonstrate the cognitive process of learning by particularly expressing the importance of critical reflection in learning. This theory stressed the fact that the main thrust of learning efforts lies in the manner in which we process experience and a major part of this, is our ability to critically reflect on experiences. Learning was described to occur in a cycle that "begins with experience, continues with reflection and later leads to action, which itself becomes a concrete experience for reflection" (Kelly, 2005).
Kolb's work further refined the concept of reflection, as it applies to learning, and divided it into two separate learning activities, which he referred to as perceiving and processing (Algonquin, 1996). The perceiving stage is when the actual learning takes place, while processing is when such learning is re-appraised in the light of previous experiences. A third stage called 'Abstract Conceptualization', where it is believed that we try to find answers to the questions raised during the critical reflection stage. In this attempt, we make generalizations, draw conclusions and form hypotheses about the experiences; and the fourth stage 'Active Experimentation', where we try these hypotheses out, were further proposed (Kelly, 2005; Algonquin, 1996). In the words of Kolb, in the Abstract Conceptualization phase, "learning involves using logic and ideas, rather than feelings to understand problems or situations. Typically, we would rely on systematic planning and develop theories and ideas to solve problems." While in Active Experimentation, "Learning in this stage takes an active form - experimenting with, influencing or changing situations. We would take a practical approach and be concerned with what really works..." (Algonquin, 1996).
Besides the experiential learning theory, the motivational theories also have great implications for reflection and learning. The importance and impact of motivation on human actions was first highlighted by the research now popularly known as the Hawthorne Studies, conducted by Elton Mayo from 1924 to 1932. In the