You will need to write a 1,000 word reflective report on your experience of using the simulation. Your word count allowance does not include references and is subject to +/- 10%. If you exceed this allowance, then the team will stop marking at this point – so any additional content will not be assessed and will not count towards your final grade. Your work should be referenced using the APA format. This is an individual piece or work and should NOT be written with other members of the team.
Purpose – why are you being asked to do this?:
Reflecting on an experience allows you to think about what you have learnt from that experience in more depth and in a critical way. This can often help to anchor what you have learnt and increase your chances of remembering the lessons you have drawn from events. This is something that will stand you in good stead as you move from university to the workplace. Research has shown that practitioners in many fields – including business – benefit from reflecting on their experiences. Reflection can help to deepen learning and can allow you to gain insights which might otherwise pass unnoticed. The following quote from Gibbs (1988) sums this up well:
‘It is not sufficient simply to have an experience in order to learn. Without reflecting upon this experience it may quickly be forgotten, or its learning potential lost. It is from the feelings and thoughts emerging from this reflection that generalisations or concepts can be generated. And it is generalisations that allow new situations to be tackled effectively.’
If you would like a less academic instance, Jenny Moon, one of the Education team here at Exeter gives her student teachers the following passage from Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire to help understand the purpose and possibilities of reflection (Moon 2001):
‘Harry stared at the stone basin. The contents had returned to their original, silvery white state, swirling and rippling beneath his gaze.
“ What is it?” Harry asked shakily.
“This? It is called a Pensieve,” said Dumbledore. “I sometimes find, and I am sure you know the feeling, that I simply have too many thoughts and memories crammed into my mind.”
“Err,” said Harry who couldn’t truthfully say that he had ever felt anything of the sort.
“At these times” said Dumbledore, indicating the stone basin, “I use the Penseive. One simply siphons the excess thoughts from one’s mind, pours them into a basin, and examines them at one’s leisure. It becomes easier to spot patterns and links, you understand, when they are in this form.’ (Rowling 2000)
BEMM172/ModuleInfo/handbook/19-20 Page 14You should complete your own reflective report once the dust has settled and you have had time to think about what happened in the simulation and how you and your team performed. However, it is a good idea to take notes throughout the simulation in order to prepare for this exercise as you will only have a few days to write your report once the simulation ends.
What is a reflective report?:
You are being asked to write a report rather than an essay for this assignment because the nature of refection is evaluating practice rather than developing an academic argument. Unlike an essay, in a report it is acceptable to write in the first person, “e.g. I felt the decision making process in our team resembled the ‘garbage can’ approach discussed in the second lecture….”, and to use diagrams, tables, sub- headings and bullet points. In terms of how you should organise your report, one option is the following structure – which was developed by the CEDAR team at Exeter (2011) to help their medical practitioners reflect on their learning at the University – so it is tried and tested:
Introduction: This should be no longer than one paragraph and should outline the purpose of the report and mention any theoretical content you are using to structure your work or to help with your reflection. Rolfe et al.’s (2001) model (shown below) is a good framework for the main body of your report because it is designed for those new to the reflection process.
What?: This identifies the main issue or issues on which you wish to focus – given the length of the report you will probably need to limit yourself to one or two issues at most – otherwise you won’t generate sufficient depth to meet the assessment criteria in full (and you will have a much longer action plan at the end of the process!). For this element of the report you need to clearly identify and describe the issue – that might be team dynamics or the decision making process, how you applied the concepts from the module to the simulation, the skills you had or needed that helped or hindered you in managing your footwear company. It might be something that you and/or the team did well or it might be something that could have been improved. Again, this section should be quite brief as the more analytical and critical elements of the assignment that follow are more important when assessing postgraduate work.
So what?: This is your opportunity to move from description to analysis – so here you should be using theory from the module to break down what you did in the simulation or to explain why things went well or not so well. For example, you could use some of the decision making frameworks from the second lecture to analyse how you and your team made decisions and what impact that had on your team and the company’s performance, or you might use some of the concepts we covered in the Jeep case and the subsequent lecture on strengthening the firms position to analyse how you applied these to the case or if you were not as successful as you wished to be, how you should have applied them (or if you feel you did apply them correctly, why they didn’t work as well as you hoped).
There are plenty more areas you could use so please don’t feel constrained by the examples above. This needs to be a much more critical section than your previous content and will also need to go into more depth. The CEDAR (2011) process explains this part of the assignment thus: “What is the issue? What does the literature suggest I did well / should do differently next time? What does the literature say about why it is important? What may be the possible consequence of this?”
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This section is also where you can explore patterns and links as the quote from the Harry Potter book outlined above.
Now what?: This should be a critical discussion of the next steps you will take to consolidate what you have learnt from the issue or issues you raised in the previous section. There is scope for you to explore more than one option for each issue, but again, given the word count you will have to be reasonably concise and focused in your debate. There is further scope to refer to the module literature here – perhaps by suggesting ways in which you can deepen your knowledge of a particular area of theory or how you could improve your skills in terms of applying it to a practical situation. This could also provide a link through to your preparation for the final case study exam too.
Conclusion: A very brief summary of the key points in your report – no more than short paragraph summarising your work and its most important findings. This is where the report ends – however, if you want to add an appendix (this will not be graded but will be a useful follow on from your report) you can also complete an action plan….
Action Plan: Some key actions linked to your Now what? section with clear objectives and deadlines – think about how you will measure your progress against these objectives and be realistic about what you can achieve – you can learn the basic strategic management frameworks in a few days – but it can take a lifetime of practice to become really good at applying them! Your action plan could be a simple table or you might choose to use a list of bullet points – you should use whatever format appeals to you most. Whatever format you use you should limit your appendix to one page and no more than 3 or 4 specific actio
References: As noted above your work needs to be referenced using the APA format.
How will your report be assessed?:
Knowledge and understanding: 20%
This element of the assessment will evaluate your depth of knowledge of the topic or topics you have chosen to cover – your explanation of key module concepts related to your chosen issue will be a key factor here as will your ability to discuss them in a critical manner.
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Descriptive reflective: There is basically description of events, but shows some evidence of deeper consideration in relatively descriptive language. There is no real evidence of the notion of alternative viewpoints in use.
Dialogic reflection: This writing suggests there is a ‘stepping back’ from the events and actions which leads to different level of discourse. There is a sense of ‘mulling about’, discourse with self and an exploration of the role of self in events and actions. There is consideration of the qualities of judgements and possible alternatives for explaining and hypothesising. The reflection is analytical or integrative, linking factors and perspectives.
Critical reflection: This form of reflection, in addition, shows evidence that the learner is aware that actions and events may be ‘located within and explicable by multiple perspectives, but are located in and influenced by multiple and socio– political contexts’. Critical reflection therefore has the added element of considering the implications of your actions for you, your team and wider community – such as the employees of the company, its suppliers, distributors, customers and other stakeholders.
Theory into practice 25%
This part of the assignment will assess your ability to apply course theory to your practical experience in the simulation. So you will need to demonstrate how you can link practice to theory and vice versa. To achieve a higher grade you will also need to show that you can use this to critique some of the theories – either from a fundamental perspective or for their applicability to practice.
Use of research informed and current literature 15%
This aspect of the assignment assesses your choice of literature in exploring the issue, higher marks will be gained here for effective use of more up to date concepts (provided they are relevant) and bringing in ideas from your wider reading – so beyond the course materials posted to ELE and the e-textbook (again these need to be relevant to the issues you discuss).
Structure, presentation and referencing 5%
Your assignment will need to be well presented and accurately referenced as well as having a logical structure. This assignment requires a reference section rather than a bibliography – so you should only include the sources you actually use – and as mentioned earlier you should use the APA format as detailed in your programme literature.