Critical Reflection

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What is the Critical Reflection Workbook?

The Critical Reflection Workbook is an embedded digital survey tool designed to help learners engage in a critical reflection process based on the DEAL (Describe, Examine/Evaluate, Articulate Learning) Model. It is a method for gathering, guiding, and deepening thinking and learning on a specific experience.  

In the web resource, learners are introduced to the DEAL model and why critical reflection will help to improve learning, skills development and growth. Then, learners are asked a series of questions in an embedded survey tool, walking them through a comprehensive reflective process. Learners may input a valid email address at the end of the survey to receive a copy of their responses. Finally, learners are given a series of options to deepen their reflection by applying it to different themes, including power and privilege, career exploration, and more. 

Access the Workbook Here

This resource has been adapted from The DEAL Model by Dr. Patti Clayton and Dr. Sarah Ash and The Taylor Institute for Teaching and Learning, University of Calgary DEAL Reflection Resource.

How should I use the Critical Reflection Workbook? 

The Critical Reflection Workbook can be used by instructors, community partners and employers to help students, interns and volunteers critically reflect on a concrete experience. It is a tool for learners to keep track of their learning, critically deepen/diversify existing reflection activities, and motivate goal-setting. It is helpful in the implementation of meaningful experiential learning activities.  

The Critical Reflection Workbook is most successful as a first step in a deeper critical reflection activity where synthesis is generated. It is not designed to be a sole method for assessment! Learners who complete this resource can more meaningfully engage in activities or assignments in a deep and critical manner.  

The following activities are examples of potential next steps: 

  • Construct a short essay using the four prompts in Step 3 of the DEAL model as your outline.

  • Using your completed reflection as a foundation, apply your learning to either your personal, academic, or professional learning and expand upon how this relates to the course themes, learning outcomes, or assigned readings 

  • Based on your completed reflection, prepare two discussion questions to lead the class or group. 

  • Focusing on Step 3 of the DEAL model, consider the third prompt “this learning matters because…” or the fourth prompt “in light of this learning…” as the basis for group discussion. 

  • Based on your completed reflection, brainstorm and design a resource or recommendation on how to apply your learning going forward – what would you recommend to a student, employer, or community partner experiencing a similar situation for the first time? 

  • What surprised you when reflecting on your experience? What do you wish you could have done differently? What will you do next?  

  • Based on your completed reflection, explore your learning through a creative medium (e.g. visual art, poster, museum exhibit, song, performance). Include a short, written justification of your medium choice and how it relates to or enhances your reflection. 

  • Interview a partner using the DEAL survey prompts. Consider experimenting with behavioral based questions or connecting your reflection and learning to industry specific themes. 

  • In pairs or small groups distill your reflection responses into a short elevator pitch that concisely communicates how this experience has impacted your learning.

Pro Tip: Giving your students specific instructions on how the workbook will contribute toward a later assignment is a great way to motivate them to complete the activity thoughtfully!

Warning: Over reliance or application of this resource can lead to reflection fatigue. For reflection to be meaningful and generative, it should not be treated as a “box to check” or “busywork.” It is recommended that instructors apply reflective practice intentionally, and that students engage in a range of types and depths of reflection so as not to become demotivated.

Can I integrate the Critical Reflection Workbook directly into CourseLink? 

Yes! The Critical Reflection Workbook can be integrated directly into CourseLink by adding a SCORM or xAPI package directly.  

For detailed instructions, click here.  

Download the SCORM 1.2 or xAPI zip files at the bottom of the page.

Can I share the link directly?

Yes! If you don’t want to integrate the workbook into CourseLink, or don’t have a CourseLink associated with the exercise, feel free to share the link directly.

Access the workbook directly here.

I have questions about Critical Reflection. Who can I contact? 

Please contact educational developer, Megan De Roover at


File attachments

Package icon SCORM 1.2.zip3.56 MB
Package icon xAPI.zip3.43 MB