What is a learning journal?



What is a learning journal?   

A learning journal is a collection of notes, observations, thoughts and other relevant materials built‐up over a period of time and maybe a result of a period of study.

Its purpose is to enhance your learning through the process of writing and thinking about your learning experiences. 

Your learning journal is personal to you and will reflect your personality, preferences and experiences. 

Why use a learning journal?  

  To provide a “live” picture of your growing understanding of a subject experience

  To demonstrate how your learning is developing

  To keep a record of your thoughts and ideas throughout your experiences  

  To help you identify your strengths, areas for improvement and preferences in learning 

A learning journal helps you to be reflective about your learning, this mean that your journal should not be a purely descriptive account of what you did but an opportunity to communicate your thinking process: how and why you did what you did, and what you know think about what you did.

Your most interesting learning experiences from the weekly lectures. (200 words for each weekly lecture ppt)

What did I find that was most useful?

What did I not find useful about it?

How could I apply what I learned in practice?

Any personal reaction to content issues?

Some General Comments on the Philosophy of a Learning Journal

A learning journal is a reflective log that records your learning either (i) over a certain period of time or (ii) on a particular topic/module.  It is a very useful personal development tool which allows you to reflect on how your study and learning is developing over a period of time, what you are learning and the relevance or application of this learning to your own experiences in a work setting.  The content of your learning journal will be unique to you and the themes or issues identified in your learning journal may be very different to those of your classmates.

This understanding comes from your experiences during the class and your own interpretation of the material that is presented to you. The reflective diary is to assess your synthesis, analysis and development skills.  It should not be a re-hash of views expressed in the seminars.  You will be expected to understand and describe current theory and analyse how the theory is applied in a best practice and a poor practice example.  You will then be expected to develop the theory and also develop what you think should be best practice for firms and include any unresolved questions you may have. 

The Purpose of a Learning Journal

According to Moon (2006) writing a learning journal can serve many purposes including the following:

To record experience

To facilitate learning from experience

To support understanding and the representation of learning

To develop critical thinking or the development of a questioning attitude

To increase active involvement in and ownership of learning

To increase ability in reflection and thinking

To enhance reflective practice

For reasons of personal development

To enhance creativity

To improve writing

As a means of communication between a learner and another

There are a number of key ingredients in reflective (learning) journal writing and it is important that you bear these in mind when writing your notebook / diary.  Among the key ingredients are the following:

Good diary/journal structure, with the identification of suitable and creative headings for the themes or issues discussed

Variety of issues discussed 

Identification of any action required as a result of reflection

Go beyond mere description 

Personal – reference to your own experience along with evidence

Links between theory and practice

Relationship of journal entries to the module coursework 

Instruction Files

Related Questions in engineering category

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