Over the past few months we’ve had the opportunity to work with a variety of MBA students and test collaborative approaches in higher education. One of the concepts that we have been playing with is how to tie the important act of individual reflection in education with collaborative design and feedback.

This model demonstrates how collaboration in the reflective process can enhance an individual’s level of insight and their degree of intimacy with a peer group.

Each time an individual interacts, or collaborates, with others they derive value from both the people themselves and the process of engaging those people. The value that is derived can come in many forms: experiences both positive and negative, and new ideas.

For the individual, these experiences and ideas, combined with their own, results in a greater level of insight as they enter the next phase of reflection. The individual, if interacting with the same group over a period of time, will gain even greater value, trust, and intimacy through the process of continuous interactions, sharing, and incorporating feedback. With greater trust and intimacy, the individual will be more willing to take risks in sharing their reflections and the group will be more willing to push and challenge them.

We often think of collaboration as only a group activity, but in truth collaboration is at it’s best when informed by individual reflection.

This post was written in collaboration with Annie White. Illustration by Annie White.