Reflect! Online Deliberation Platform

February 14, 2020 Jaskiran Gakhal, Participedia Team
November 12, 2018 Scott Fletcher Bowlsby
June 18, 2018 Lucy J Parry, Participedia Team
February 6, 2017 Michael-Hoffmann
June 6, 2016 Michael-Hoffmann

Reflect! is an tool to structure deliberation online between small teams, and the platform is designed to support multi-scaled reflection and collaboration.

Problems and Purpose

Reflect! is an online tool that structures deliberation and collaboration on wicked problems in small teams. The platform is designed to support and structure multi-scaled deliberation and stimulate reflection. Vertically Integrated Projects (VIP) offer students to work on long-term research and development projects with faculty and graduate students for academic credit.[1]

Origins and Development

The Reflect! platform has and continues to been designed and tested by students at Georgia Tech's Vertically Integrated Projects be built on AGORA-net, a computer-supported collaborative argument visualization tool:

The project was awarded the Cyberlearning and Future Learning Technologies Grant by the National Science Foundation from September 2016 - August 2019. [2]

How it Works: Process, Interaction, and Decision-Making

The Reflect! Online deliberative platform attempts to facilitate or achieve the following:

Talk to People With Dissenting Opinions

Obviously, we feel much more comfortable talking to people who share our views. But this is not sufficient when it comes to wicked problems and the resolution of conflicts. Instead of rehearsing time and again the same opinions, we need to talk to people whose opinions we do not share.

Deliberation and Self-Reflection

Peaceful decision making and conflict resolution are only possible if people are able to change their mind based on the better argument. This again requires to organize deliberation in a way that supports reflection on one's own reasoning. People need to be enabled to identify—in the process of deliberating with others—weaknesses, gaps, biases, and limitations in their own thinking, and they should be supported to improve it.

Creative, Collaborative Decision Making

Rather than framing decision-making as a 'winner-take-all' argument, the Reflect! platform takes its cues from the real world of face-to-face collaboration, stimulating cooperation and creativity so that stakholders can find more innovative and widely acceptable solutions to 'wicked' problems. 

Gamify Public Deliberation

Participating in public deliberation should be an exciting and rewarding experience. The Reflect! platforms attempts to 'gamify' deliberation, incentivizing increasing participation by mapping the development and evolution of a proposal as it becomes more and more acceptable to stakeholders. 

Analysis and Lessons Learned

The Reflect! platform is still being trialed but according to its principal investigator, Michael Hoffman, it is undergoing rigorous academic analysis:

"The primary goal of the proposed project is to design, test, and iteratively improve the new argument-based reflection system Reflect! that combines the strengths of the two existing reflection tools, but opens up a new world of scripted collaboration on wicked problems. The design of the envisioned reflection system will be informed by analyses of how experts, using the two available tools, approach wicked problems, assess arguments, and improve them. The effects of specific features of the new reflection tool and interaction scripts on participants’ reflection and self-correcting reasoning will be assessed in a series of experiments."[2]

See Also

Online Deliberation


[1] Vertically Integrated Projects, "Digital Deliberation," March 24, 2017,

[2] Michael Hoffman, "Fostering self-correcting reasoning with reflection systems (NSF)," September 2, 2016,

External Links


The majority of this content was submitted by Michael-Hoffmann, an advisor on the Digital Democracy Program of the Vertically Integrated Projects.