Harvard working paper asserts that reflection is crucial to self-improvement

A new working paper (link) co-authored by Francesca Gino, Gary Pisano and Bradley Staats of Harvard Business School (the lead author is Giada diStefano of HEC) talks about a subject very important to this site - the role of reflection in learning and self-improvement. This is from the abstract: 

We propose that one of the critical components of learning is reflection, or the intentional attempt to synthesize, abstract, and articulate the key lessons taught by experience. Drawing on dual-process theory, we focus on the reflective dimension of the learning process and propose that learning can be augmented by deliberately focusing on thinking about what one has been doing. We test the resulting dual-process learning model experimentally, using a mixed-method design that combines two laboratory experiments with a field experiment conducted in a large business process outsourcing company in India. We find a performance differential when comparing learning-by-doing alone to learning-by-doing coupled with reflection. 

The results, tested both in a lab simulation and a real-world field experiment, are striking:

By being allocated to the reflection condition [as opposed to training without reflecction], participants improved their score on the final assessment test of 15.1 points – that is, a 22.8% increase with respect to the average score for the entire sample (66.1). Analogously, by being allocated to the sharing condition [sharing experience with others as well as self-reflection], participants improved their score on the final assessment test of 16.5 points – that is, a 25.0% increase with respect to the average score for the entire sample.

This says something very important, and probably not surprising if you are using 3Minute Journal. Reflecting on your work improves learning and performance - significantly. Isn't that worth a few minutes a day?