Learning Journals


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Learning Journals

  1. 1. Learning Journals – an introduction <br />Lydia Arnold<br />www.lydiaarnold.net<br />Harper Adams University College<br />www.harper-adams.ac.uk <br />
  2. 2. What are learning journals?<br />Learning journals <br />Are where you can reflect upon practice, study or life events with the intention of developing your understanding, knowledge or behaviour. <br />“A journal is also a tool for self-discovery, an aid to concentration, a mirror for the soul, a place to generate and capture ideas, a safety valve for the emotions, a training ground for the writer, and a good friend and confidant”. Ron Klug (2002: 1)<br />
  3. 3. Why would I want a learning journal? <br />It provides a record of your learning.<br />It offers a space to think openly, playfully and productively about experiences. <br />It is a space to help develop thoughts about necessary next steps in your development.<br />It enables you to articulate events or occurrences, for the sake of better understanding. <br />It helps you to identify new opportunities (as exploring ideas leads to new thoughts).<br />It provides a resource for you to use future PDP, job interviews, applications and professional memberships, since it charts experience. <br />
  4. 4. Where would I keep my learning journal ? <br />It must work for you!<br />Consider<br />Hi-tech or low-tech <br />When you will have time to reflect<br />Should it be private or shared?<br />Will an audience add value to my journal writing? <br />
  5. 5. Options might include …<br />A blog (e.g. wordpress.com or blogger.com)<br />A paper diary or folder<br />A word document on my desk top<br />An audio diary<br />A video diary (using simple technology such as a web cam or your mobile phone)<br />A photo diary or photo-blog<br />
  6. 6. What will I write (or record)<br />Incidents from which you can learn<br />Moments that were significant<br />Recollections of unusual events<br />Recollections of something that went really well<br />Recollections of things that went wrong<br />Questions thrown up by practice or study<br />Recollections of discussions that were significant<br />Musings on ‘things’ happening in the world at large (e.g. a news article related to your practice).<br />
  7. 7. When will I write <br />You could be disciplined and set a specific routine e.g. one a week on a Thursday afternoon.<br />You could be more fluid and write when the moment feels right. <br />Discipline and routine can be helpful to get started, though you may have moments where you don’t know what to write, whereas waiting for the moment to feel right to right can sometimes delay getting started. <br />This is an individual choice. <br />
  8. 8. Routine<br />LEARNING JOURNALS ROUTINE <br />At first you may feel like the diary is laboured, pointless and unnecessary. <br />Stick with it through this. <br />In time you will find your own routine and pattern. <br />It is critical to persevere through early frustration! <br />If you find you are not getting in to a pattern, consider the type of journal that you have set up and whether a different approach would be better. <br />
  9. 9. Help! What do I say in my learning journal? <br />Journal entries can be formal or informal, they can be written to invite comment or purely for your own use. <br />Either way though some structure may help get started. <br />Consider a reflective model, that is a series of steps to guide your thinking about an occurrence, to guide your reflection. <br />One such model is Gibbs …<br />
  10. 10. Gibbs as a scaffold for reflective writing<br />Consider following these steps in writing a journal entry, starting with what happened. <br />
  11. 11. Or …<br />You could develop your own framework … e.g. <br />What happened<br />What was good about it<br />What was bad about it<br />What have I learnt<br />
  12. 12. Or …<br />You could write without a framework and try to use your own style to recall and learn from events and occurrences. <br />
  13. 13. Ethics <br />If you are sharing your learning journal take care to ensure that no ethical breeches occur. <br />Common sense is usually enough but if you are unsure seek advice. <br />For example do not <br />talk about specific company accounts<br />do not reveal you company’s prize prototype on your website! <br />Do not refer to private discussions with students or potential clients.<br />Do not divulge personal details about other people. <br />If you write publicly be aware of your audience. <br />This can enhance your journal keepingas it focuses writing upon issues and self rather than upon others’. <br />
  14. 14. A personal account of journal keeping <br />I started blogging three years ago. My blog is my journal, I blog whenever I feel I have something to consider, though never often enough. The results of keeping this journal have been personally rewarding … I have been able to articulate ideas, raise questions which otherwise would have been lost in the to do list of daily life, I have been able to see my own professional growth and I have been able to connect with issues in the wider professional world. Entries have stimulated projects, publications and CPD decisions. So if the intrinsic rewards of journal keeping are not enough, there may well be direct performance benefits too! <br />
  15. 15. End note … <br />Have a go and most of all persevere and in time journal keeping becomes second nature. <br />