A learning journal is nothing more than a collection of notes, thoughts, drawings, sketches, observations and information which comes your way. It is kept in a collected space (such as a notebook) to enhance your learning, make connections and build upon prior knowledge. DaVinci kept beautiful learning journals!
I have a learning journal of everyday experiences and notes from books I am reading.I have repeatedly admonished others -students, family and friends -to maintain a learning journal. I keep several for many different reasons, and I love them. (Oh, let’s be honest. I simply have a love affair with journaling!) However, the most common question I receive is: Why? Why keep one? So here it is …
Top Ten Reasons to Keep a Learning Journal:
- Develops self-directed learning characteristics.
- Demonstrates learning progress.
- Helps the individual learn about themselves as a learner and t
- Works to develop solutions to problems.
- Stores thoughts, ideas and knowledge to ensure retention.
- Can be passed on to your posterity.
- Provides a reflective learning process.
- Helps to sharpen observations for the learner.
- Identifies gaps in knowledge.
- Advances critical thinking skills.
This list is by no means comprehensive, but it is a good place to start. How have you used your learning journals? In what ways have they helped you in your life?
I noted several years ago a time when I felt particularly frustrated. I felt stagnate as if I had not learned anything or progressed. I sat in front of my shelves and pulled open an old learning journal from my undergraduate degree. What a wonderful experience! I read for a long time as if time stood still. When I rose from the floor, I immediately felt inspired. I felt better. I knew I had grown, learned and changed. I made a renewed commitment to continue with my learning journals and even opted to separate a few into more specialized areas.
So, why do I promote the use of learning journals? For the simple betterment of one’s self.
By Tracy Harrington-Atkinson
Tracy Harrington-Atkinson, mother of six, lives in the Midwest with her husband. She is a teacher, having taught elementary school to higher education, holding degrees in elementary education, a master’s in higher education and continued on to a PhD in curriculum design. She has published several titles, including Calais: The Annals of the Hidden, Rachel’s 8 and Securing Your Tent. She is currently working on a non-fiction text exploring the attributes of self-directed learners: The Five Characteristics of Self-directed Learners.