This handbook is concerned with two topics that have normally been seen as separate, with their own literatures and their own experts who were not necessarily experts in learning as a general topic. There have been experts in reflective learning, experiential learning and student learning, with relatively little meeting of minds or ideas about practical issues. With changes in educational practice and, in particular, the developing emphasis on reflective learning in higher education, these experts need to work together. Experiential learning is, for example, very often assessed through written work that is, in essence, reflective. The use of learning journals is an example. As there is more interest in the theoretical perspectives of reflective and experiential learning, we see the literatures beginning to overlap. Now it is timely to do the theoretical exploration work in order to sort out the nature of the overlap - how reflective and experiential learning are the same and how they differ. In order to do this, we have started with the basic questions about the process of learning itself. We have related both reflective and experiential learning to a basic model of learning, and then considered how they relate to each other.
Handbooks are both theoretical and practical. With the increase in the use of reflective and experiential learning in higher education and professional development, teachers might be asked to be involved with these kinds of learning and there is a need for supportive literature, which is both theoretical and practical. People who would not consider themselves to be reflective are being asked to encourage their students to reflect, when they know that some of their students may be more reflective than they themselves are. On the practical side, this handbook covers topics such as how to introduce reflective activities and then to improve the quality of the reflection. It covers assessment issues, considers work experience as a form of experiential learning