Towards reflective project management introducing the Portfolio-in-Practice

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Sandra E Flynn
Fiona Levie


This qualitative study set out to explore the relationship between the practice of reflection in a project management MSc. programme and reflective practice in the workplace. We propose that students who learn and practice reflection in an academic programme can transfer these skills to reflection-in-action (Schön, 1983) in their project management roles, thereby contributing to the development of reflective project managers. Reflection in the context of post-project reviews forms an essential element in project management. Research has shown that this element is often the exception or omitted altogether due to time constraints (Anbari et al., 2008; Fuller et al., 2011; Nicolaisen & Driscoll, 2016). This study proposes that students who learn and practice reflection in an academic programme can transfer these skills to the project management workplace. Guided by the principles of phenomenography, online survey data were collected from 30 students and postgraduates along with 10 faculty members. The study found that despite initial apprehension students considered the reflective learning process to be useful and three quarters felt they could apply the reflective learnings to their practice after the first module of use. Towards the end of the programme almost half indicated their intention to continue with reflective writing practice post-graduation. Instilling the practice of reflecting on an education programme has two goals. Firstly, to reflect on the learnings of the programme work, at and across modules. Secondly, to bring those learnings forward to a real-world environment, encouraging not just our own development as reflective practitioners, but also the development of reflective project teams. To support these goals, we propose a new model: the reflective learning portfolio-in-practice.


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How to Cite
Flynn, S. E., & Levie, F. (2021). Towards reflective project management: introducing the Portfolio-in-Practice. Irish Journal of Technology Enhanced Learning, 6(1), 118–130.
Original Research
Author Biography

Sandra E Flynn, Lancaster University

Department of Educational Research

PhD researcher