Gibbs Reflective Cycle

The American psychologist and sociologist Graham Gibbs was the one who has discussed and published his work about ‘Reflective Cycle Model’ in his book named ‘Learning by Doing’, in the year 1988. In this reflective cycle, Gibbs discussed the experiences of different people faced by them during any specific situation, activity, or event. He encourages the thinking of people related to their experiences. Generally, Gibbs’s reflection cycle can be defined as; it makes people think about different activities, events, and experiences in a detailed form. This also allows them to be aware of their actions and activities to bring change in their behavior accordingly. This article by experts of dissertation writing services explains the details of Gibbs’ reflection cycle in details. After reading this article you will be able to understand the main ideas about this cycle.

The Gibbs’ Reflective Cycle:

Gibbs structure this cycle to support the experimental learnings. It was a continuous as well as individual experiencing cycle designed to bring improvements in reflective and repeated experiences. Gibbs has given very much importance to feelings in his reflection cycle. He also discussed Evolution in a separate part. There are six basic steps or elements of the Gibbs reflection cycle. It started with the description continues with the feelings, evaluation, analysis, and conclusion, and lastly ends with an action plan in clockwise steps. Let us discuss all these steps of Gibbs’ reflective cycle in detail.


In this step, you must add a factual description of the event or incident. The main focus of this element is information, not on any conclusion. The information must be pertinent and relevant. There are some prompt questions related to this step;

  • What happened?
  • When happened?
  • How happened?
  • Who was there?
  • How did you and others react?
  • What did you do?
  • What do they say?
  • What was the result?

These are the general questions that are very helpful for a better understating of the event or incident.


In this element, you discuss your feelings, thoughts, and ideas about your experience. The repeated questions related to this part are;

  • What were your feelings at that time?
  • What do you say about the feelings of other people?
  • What are your emotions?
  • What are your values and beliefs about the incident?

You can simply discuss your own emotions in a very simple and honest way. Make sure to bear in mind the main idea of writing an academic piece of writing. So, also make sure not to use informal words and language.


In this part, you talk about the things that impact your mind. You ought to evaluate the situation objectively. You must think about the positive and negative sides of the event.

  • What was right and wrong?
  • What do you think about the event?
  • Your ideas are positive or negative?


This is the point where you can make sense of the situation happening around you. You have to think about the ideas that help to manage the situation. You can take help from the literacy writings like; articles, essays, and thesis, etc. in the end you must link both the theory and the experience.

  • Why did things go bad or good?
  • What might help to improve the situation?
  • How could I respond differently?
  • How my experience does could be relatable to the literature?


Gibbs proposed two different types of conclusions: one is general and the other is specific. One can be transferable with the situation. And others only focus on your situations. Few ideas can build your base for a conclusion.

  • What you have learned?
  • You learn generally or specifically?
  • Did you do anything different from others?

Action Plan:

This element of Gibbs’ reflective cycle helps you to plan your actions and sum the ideas and things you should know about. And use these ideas for the improvement of next time.

  • What have you experienced?
  • What have you learned?
  • How will you use the experience for new ideas?
  • How do I improve my ideas and skills?


Henceforth, it is concluded that Gibbs’ reflective cycle model is all about being used in different kinds of situations for valuable evaluation. It is practice-based learning that helps you to enhance your understandings. The above elements of Gibbs’ reflective cycle can help people to have awareness about their actions, events, experiences, activities, and abilities. They can learn about the main ideas behind this model with the help of its six elements with proper guidelines.

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