Gibbs Reflective Cycle - 6 Stages, Merits and Demerits

This Blog Describes the Concept of Gibbs Reflective Cycle and Its Several Elements to Help You Build a Strong Understanding

29 Jan 2024 6999 17 minutes

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Each of you faces an event whose experience never left the memory. But how do you conclude if it was bad or good? That is when Gibbs reflective cycle helps, which is a process developed to analyse experiences. As a student in nursing, your job is to help your patients recover from their experiences that lead to different mental issues. Before this method came into existence, the process to help people overcome such events was difficult. Thus, Gibbs reflective cycle helps you study the different ways to understand what an individual feels after these events. Moreover, it helps you find an action plan after you study the situation.

However, the circle for mastering a concept requires stages to complete in sequence. That helps you grasp the complete details so you do not remain oblivious about any area. So, it is time to study the overall aspects of Gibbs reflective cycle.

What is Gibbs Reflective Cycle? Meaning and History

Education is a ladder to success, and every ladder has specific steps in it. You do not jump directly on the last one but gradually move towards it. Hence, the first step in learning about this method is to know what it means.

Meaning and History of Gibbs Reflective Cycle:

The term ‘Gibbs Reflective Cycle’ means a model that acts as a reflective process to understand what a person experience during an event. It is a method structured in a way that revolves around learning from experiences. This learning helps you interpret the effects on the brain of the person. The historical origin of Gibbs cycle of reflection starts in 1988 by Graham R. Gibbs, who introduced this process in his book “Learning by Doing”, explaining the experimental learning concept.

It concludes the meaning and history of this model. However, many of you question why no one else thought of this method. Moreover, can it be possible that the Gibbs reflection cycle method shares similarities with another process? The following section covers the answer.

Is Gibbs Reflective Cycle Similar to Another Model?

Every method that you know originates from an intellectual’s idea. However, there can be two processes sharing the same notions. So, when we speak of Gibbs reflective model in this context, the answer is yes, there is one more procedure. When Graham R. Gibbs introduced his method explaining experimental learning, he mentioned a better format. However, the overall outlook looks similar to Driscoll reflective model in the same area.

Even though both work in the same study, the procedure of Graham Gibbs has in-depth analytical traits to know the experience better. However, you cannot get a desirable outcome if you have fewer variables about the Gibbs model of reflection. Hence, it is best to learn the next aspect of this method, its stages described in the section below.

What 6 Important Stages Do Gibbs Reflective Cycle Include?

Gibbs Reflective Cycle Stages

It is impossible to achieve the results in a process if you do not know the series of steps it follows. Although, a procedure is also incomplete if it does not have any stages to apply. The Gibbs cycle consists of six segments:

  • Description- What Happened?
  • Feelings- What are Your Thoughts?
  • Evaluation- Is the Event Good or Bad?
  • Analysis- Is There Something More to It?
  • Conclusion- What Can Be The Possible Outcome?
  • Action Plan- What Should You Do, When It Comes Again?

These levels work to investigate and reach a conclusion, but you must know them first. Hence, the following sub-heads will cover these stages to help you understand Gibbs reflective cycle application:


The first step is similar to research but with a minor change. When you write an assignment, you research using web pages. Here, your research basis is the person who experienced an event. Hence, the initial stage is where you get the description of how an event occurred. When you start the Gibbs reflective model, you prepare a series of questionnaires that help you cover the entire facts about the event.

Since you are unfamiliar with the topic, here are the queries you ask from the patient:

  • Summary of the Event
  • Time and Place Where it Occurred
  • Reason to Be There
  • Count of People Present There
  • The Decision and Plan of Action
  • The Counter from Other People
  • Outcome That Arrived
  • Proposed Outcome or Result

Let us see a Gibbs reflective cycle example to know how this goes.

Illustration: In the evening, my friends and I decided to go out as we delivered a lengthy assignment to our professor. We decided to visit a club and celebrate that we did it even though the time was not on our side. So, while we enjoyed the fun and chilling environment, other people did the same. After an hour or two, the two groups started a conflict. Soon, it resulted in a bloodied fistfight, forcing us to move out to avoid personal inflict.

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This stage in Gibbs reflection cycle is where you explain the emotions, feelings and thoughts that come into your brain during the event. It is not about judging or pointing out the details of how and what you felt but about denoting them. Recall them in three instances, before, during and after the event. During this study, you can ask the following questions to understand the emotional pressure:

  • Feelings Before the Event
  • Thoughts When the Conflict Started
  • Experience of Other People
  • Feeling When It Was Over
  • Other People’s Reactions When Event Concluded
  • Your Current Thoughts

The Gibbs reflective cycle example in this stage is related to the description one as the case will not change.

Illustration: The emotions we felt are mixed. First, it was relaxed after submitting the document. Later, when we went out in the evening, it was excitement. We felt joyful as we were at a club. When the conflict started, we felt scared as we did not want to come into the crossfire. When we somehow managed to escape with the rest crowd, that is when fear was mixed with relief as we made it out without a scratch.


Once you have the details, you can start the investigation begins for the third stage in Gibbs model of reflection. Here, you learn if the situation is bad or good, but the description is vital in this step too. A perfect evaluation is where you extract all the positives and negatives of the situation. The following pointers can help you find these elements to make an exquisite evaluation similar to our nursing assignment help:

  • Success Points in the Event
  • Failures You Observe
  • Resolution Worked or Not
  • Plus and Minus Points from Your Side
  • Good or Bad Factors from Other People

Illustration: The positive I can mark is that none of us were harmed or caught in the crossfire. We all tried our best to save ourselves and each other. The negative was the plan which collapsed due to the conflict. Instead of a fun evening, it turned into breaking news as we saw a bloodied fistfight in a calm and peaceful place.


The meaning is left behind when the focus remains on the situation or the event. This Gibbs reflective cycle helps you find the lost element. Once you collect the good and bad factors, you can finally assess what actually happened and know what the situation is trying to teach. So, the following pointers can help you extract it:

  • Reason for the Positive Result
  • Cause for the Bad Outcome
  • Lesson Learned - Me and Others
  • Required Knowledge - Me and Others

Analysis in Gibbs cycle is essential as it allows you to determine whether the situation holds more to it than what you know.

Illustration: Through the reflection, I learned that the area was not peaceful as the club we picked to spend the evening was too far from our places. Luckily we came out, but it could have turned into a worst evening. Any of us could be hurt or injured, which is a bad result. The situation ended as we all survived, which made me feel comfortable and relaxed.

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This stage of Gibbs reflective cycle consists of a permanent ending. Here you present a summary of what you extract from the whole event. Moreover, you underline the changes you could implement to change or improve the outcome in the future. However, be honest if you cannot find any measure to set forth. Use the below question to identify:

  • The Lessons to Learn
  • Factors to Achieve a Positive Outcome in this Event
  • Skills I can Develop to Handle Such an Event
  • Any Step or Method I Could Apply

The conclusion is where you exhibit what you learned from the event you observe. Let us see the below illustration of Gibbs model of reflection Examples:

Illustration: From this entire event, I learned what seems to be a peaceful place is not always the truth. Although everyone is safe, we should be more careful when we are far away from assistance. The lesson I learned is saving each other is a better option to get out of such an event without any damage. Furthermore, I should not stay to see the matter but must reach a safe place before the situation is out of control.

Action Plan:

This step in Gibbs reflective cycle is about determining a different course of action you can take in a similar or related event. Moreover, another aspect in this step is what measures you take to save yourself in the specific situation. It is about planning various acts and the process to apply them in that case. The following pointers will help in this Gibbs cycle:

  • Different Course of Action I Opt
  • Methods to Develop the Required Skills
  • What will Force Me to Act Differently in This Situation?

Illustration: My first action is to keep the helpline number on standby after reaching a place far from my neighbourhood. Moreover, keep an eye on the surrounding to see if a conflict is starting so we can leave quickly.

Without learning these stages, Gibbs cycle of reflection is beyond understanding. Hence, these steps help you know the overall approach of this method. However, every developed notion has pros and cons, without which determining its success rate is impossible. So, the next section will cover these areas so you can interpret the success percent of Gibbs model of reflection and how well it works.

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Does Gibbs Reflective Cycle Give Results? Merits and Demerits

Every method requires a pre-study to understand its limitations and its calibre to see the effect it can bring. That is how you can find if the process works correctly or needs more adaptations. Hence, below are the merits and demerits of the gibbs cycle.

Advantages of Gibbs Model of Reflection

  1. The process is easy to use and grasp due to its simple stages.
  2. It helps your experience to enhance your learning.
  3. The method leads to a correct and stable conclusion.

Disadvantages of Gibbs Reflective Model

  1. It leans towards superficiality due to less critical thinking in the process.
  2. The model is useless if the candidates cannot express their feelings.
  3. A guide or professional practitioner is needed to help an inexperienced person.
  4. Gibbs reflective model may not lead to people having changed opinion to implement.

These points signify the limitations and ability of this method. Without learning about them, doubts hang in your brain over this process. However, you still have more doubts and require a place that can answer them. Hence, the following section will inform you about such a platform.

Want to Know More About Gibbs Reflective Cycle? Ask from Us

Gibbs reflective cycle is a dynamic method due to the change in the events of an individual. That is why many of you, who pursue the nursing subject, have problems learning the concepts. Hence, you seek experts to ask for help due to your inability to understand it. So, we, Global Assignment Help Australia, assist you with the doubts that give you headaches. Whenever you have any questions, take assignment help from us as we work till the problem is solved. Now, stop worrying about the issues.

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