Advances in Health Sciences Education

, Volume 15, Issue 3, pp 329–348 | Cite as

Using reflective learning to improve the impact of continuing education in the context of work rehabilitation

  • Brigitte Vachon
  • Marie-José Durand
  • Jeannette LeBlanc


Reflective learning has been described as a promising approach for ameliorating the impact of continuing education (CE) programs. However, there are still very few studies that have investigated how occupational therapists use reflection to improve the integration of CE program content in their decision-making processes. The study objectives were to describe how these professionals, working in the sector of work rehabilitation, used reflective learning to integrate research evidence into their clinical decision-making process and to identify the factors that influenced the reflective learning process. A collaborative research study was conducted. Eight occupational therapists were recruited to participate to the group that was convened for 12 meetings and held during a 15-month period. The strategies used were critical analysis of ill-structured and authentic clinical situations, peer support, reflective journal writing and complementary reading. The group facilitator acted as a research evidence mentor and guided the group process. The data collected was analyzed using the grounded theory method. The reflective learning process, used by the participants, enabled them to change their perspective at six different stages in their decision-making process. The participants developed their ability to use different types of reflective thinking: introspection, concept attainment, self-attribution, problem solving, action planning and reorganization. The factors that most influenced learning were: ease in sharing experience, normative beliefs, coping with negative emotions, perceived self-efficacy, social support and risk taking. Results led to the development of the Model of Research Utilization Grounded in Critical Reflection.


Continuing education Reflective learning Evidence-based practice Knowledge translation Occupational therapy Work rehabilitation 



The co-authors of this paper would like to express their sincere gratitude to the eight participants who generously gave their time to this study and who displayed great interest in understanding, changing and improving their practice. Funding for this research was provided by the FRSQ Work Disability Prevention Team. The first author received a Doctoral Training Award from the Fonds de la recherche en santé du Québec (FRSQ) and the Institut de recherche Robert-Sauvé en santé et en sécurité du travail (IRSST).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Brigitte Vachon
    • 1
  • Marie-José Durand
    • 1
  • Jeannette LeBlanc
    • 2
  1. 1.Centre d’Action en Prévention et Réadaptation de l’Incapacité au Travail (CAPRIT), Campus LongueuilUniversité de SherbrookeLongueuilCanada
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyUniversité de SherbrookeSherbrookeCanada

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