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Active Reviewing

Active reviewing is an experiential methodology that belongs to experimental learning from the previous blog. This methodology encourages the group to actively learn and focuses on group development.

By using active reviewing, you turn the reflection moment into a fun activity. This way you maintain the energy of the activity while reflecting together on the content and development needs.

Unlike standard business reflection, active reviewing looks at multiple aspects of an experience. Greenaway describes the following 4 steps in his piece. Especially for you, we have highlighted a sample exercise for each step!

  1. Facts (what happened?)

  2. Feelings (how did it feel?)

  3. Findings (what do you think?)

  4. Future (what does this mean for the future?)

What happened?

It all starts with looking back on an experience. You can see it as looking for evidence of what happened. Don't you sometimes stand amazed at how different people have experienced the same activity or meeting?

Example: Sketch Map

With this activity, you imagine that the experience or activity was a journey. This journey can then be represented in the form of a map; similar to a customer journey. The group then makes a map together of a large piece of paper to represent their adventure. The map shows incidents, observations and high and low points along the way. The process of making the map will often naturally move the group into the next two stages of the review process.

How did it feel?

The second step in the cycle is about the intensity of the experience. Here you work with your feelings and can express how you experienced the event. What feeling did you have during this experience?

Example: Line-Ups

People arrange themselves along an imaginary line which represents a spectrum of feelings. One end can represent feelings like 'confident', 'out of my depth', 'right', 'supported etc. It is usually better if the language used is suggested by the young people themselves. It is a good idea to use a curved line so that everyone can see each other. Alternatively, you can also use the center of the room to represent the more 'positive' side of the line and the walls of the room can represent the opposite end. Discussion is encouraged (if necessary).

What do you think?

The third step is more analytical in nature. Here you will analyze what you have learned from the meeting or experience. This is the part that standard business reflection often focuses on. It is also an important part of the process and is reinforced by the first two steps.

Example: The Visitor

If a group has made a collage or map that represents their adventure, in this phase you can encourage discussion by having a 'visitor' examine the collage. You start by asking: "If a visitor came and saw your collage, what do you think they would notice? What questions might they ask?" This can be followed by finding a volunteer from the group to take on the role of an interested visitor. In effect, the 'visitor' will now be the facilitator of a group discussion that is initially based on observations and questions that group members themselves will have provided.

What does this mean for the future?

The last and most practical step. Here you will try something new based on what you have learned in the analytical stage. You can see it as testing a hypothesis. In a group, it may be that you make a certain agreement or try a certain action.

Example: Repetition

You can repeat an activity with the group when they want to improve in some way. Ask the group: "What are you trying to find out by doing this activity again?" Once you (and they) are clear about their motivation, it may be possible to suggest variations that will make the repetition more worthwhile - for example, by changing roles or responsibilities, or by reducing or increasing the challenge.


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