Self-explanation and structured reflection have been studied independently with results suggesting that both learning interventions can effectively support medical students’ clinical reasoning development. Given this evidence, medical schools may want/begin to implement these interventions in their curricula. Implementing educational interventions requires educators to maintain the core philosophy and principles of the interventions intact while adjusting implementation techniques to the specificities of individual learning contexts. Educational scholars have yet to explicitly articulate the philosophy, principles and techniques of self-explanation and structured reflection. Without such descriptions, educators risk failing to realize self-explanation’s and structured reflection’s effect to support students’ clinical reasoning skill development in their implementations. Relying on the layered analysis approach, we articulate the philosophy, principles and techniques of self-explanation and structured reflection. This description is framed within the context of an actual implementation to illustrate the philosophies underpinning self-explanation and structured reflection, the principles that realize those philosophies, and the techniques that can be used to enact those principles. Building on the similarities between self-explanation and structured reflection, while also harnessing their differences, we identify why and how these interventions can be combined in a single implementation, while preserving their philosophies and principles. The layered analysis of self-explanation and structured reflection offers essential insights into the underpinnings of these interventions. They are articulated in this manuscript in hopes that other scholars will continue to refine these descriptions thereby facilitating effective use of self-explanation and structured reflection for clinical reasoning development.
This work was funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (#430-2016-00756) and the Société des Médecins de l’Université de Sherbrooke (Fonds de développement pédagogique 2017)