Active Review Cycle

The four Fs

This framework was designed by Dr Roger Greenaway, who has worked with education and training organisations, specialising in making experience-based learning more participatory, dynamic and effective.

Why is it Needed

The four Fs of reviewing – Facts, Feelings, Findings, and Future – will help you to review experience and plan for the future. By working through the four levels of this model, you will critically examine the situation you want to review and think about how to use what you learn in the future. Easy to remember, this model can be used to think and reflect on a situation and can help to structure written reflections.

What is it

The four Fs are:

  • Facts: An objective account of what happened
  • Feelings: The emotional reactions to the situation
  • Findings: The concrete learning that you can take away from the situation
  • Future: A structuring for your learning such that you can use it in the future

Active Reviewing Cycle
Facts

The first F represents hard facts. Here you can examine the sequence of events and key moments. If you are working through the model with other people, it can be interesting to see if you agree on the facts. Be wary that facts do not turn into opinions, for example ‘Then X did the wrong thing’, rather say ‘X did this and it had this effect’.

Feelings

Here you can describe the feelings in the situation. Feelings can guide you to fully understanding the situation and better ground your learning in the experience. It is possible to start accidentally evaluating and judging in this section. but try to stay with your feelings. Be cautious that you do not use ‘felt’ as a judgement, for example ‘I felt they were wrong’, or ‘my feeling was that it was a good choice’. The latter can be rewritten as ‘I felt confident while making the choice.’

Findings

Here you can start investigating and interpreting the situation to find meaning and make judgements. The main questions are ‘how’ and ‘why’.

Future

Take your findings and consider how to implement them in the future.

How is it Used

To use the model effectively, establish the questions and a clear timeline of the phases. The whole process should last between 30 and 45 minutes.


Timeline example
PhaseOutcomeSuggested Time
Process presentation and “check-in”, building trustClear understanding of the process, focus on the “situation”5 min
Questions about FactsCollected evidence5 min
Questions about FeelingsEmotional attachment to the situation5 min
Questions about FindingsClear understanding of the situation10 min
Questions about FutureAction Plan for changes10 min
“Check-out”Save exit from the review5 min
Examples

Note: You don’t have to answer all these questions; they are simply examples of what makes sense to include in each section. You might have other prompts that work better for you.

Facts

  • Make a short news report covering: Who? What?  Where? and When? [Save Why? and How? for ‘Findings’.]
  • Did anything unexpected happen? Any surprises?
  • Did anything predictable happen?
  • What was most memorable/different/interesting?
  • What were the turning points or critical moments?
  • What happened next? What happened just before?
  • What most influenced your attitude and behaviour?
  • What didn’t happen that you thought/hoped would happen?

Feelings

  • What are some of the feelings you experienced?
  • At what point did you feel most or least involved?
  • What other feelings were  present in the situation?
  • At what point were you most aware of controlling/expressing your feelings?
  • What were your personal highs and lows?

Findings

  • Why did or didn’t it work?
  • Why did you take on that role?
  • Why did you do what you did?
  • Why did you not do something else?
  • How did your feelings influence what you said and did?
  • How did you get the outcome that happened?
  • Were there any missed opportunities or regrets?
  • What would you like to have done differently?
  • What would you like to have done more or less of?
  • What was most/least valuable?
  • Was there any feedback/appraisal?

Future

  • How do you imagine using what you have learned?
  • What has already changed?
  • What choices do you have?
  • What would using the findings look like?
  • What would you do differently?
  • What plan can you make for the future?

As the person facilitating the review, you should practice active listening techniques such as nonverbal affirmations, maintaining eye contact, showing understanding, paraphrasing, and reframing for clarification.


See also:

Performance Management

Assessment Dialogue


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