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What is a Learning Journal?

On the Open University EE811 course I have been encouraged to maintain a Learning Journal. This is something I have considered doing previously but it has always been on the round-to-it.

What is a learning journal? According to Hanna in an article with the same name, a learning journal is a method of learners to summarise and reflect on their learning journey. It can include thoughts, experiences, relevant information and links, real time results of experimentations of new theories and how they will apply what has been learnt in their work life experiences (Barto, 2021).

A learning journal s a place where you can store your thoughts before you forget the small details and move on to the next experience. They are part of the reflective learning and therefore should include reactions and emotional content in addition to the course content summary.

A learning journal provides a snapshot of your growing understanding of a subject, how the learning is developing and a record of your thoughts. It should be reflective and contain a description of your experiences.

You can use different methods to record your progress either a paper based journal, One Note, Evernote, a blog post like this one, or any other method.

This diagram from PEI College of Physiotherapy (Chapman, 2006) shows this diagram for the process of reflective learning.

You should include anything you found inspiring, confusing, puzzling or contradictory. Write down what you would like to learn more about and what resources have been useful to your current understanding. It can be advantageous to include if you have changed your opinion on a subject, and why this has happened.

How you write the journal is completely according to your preferences or requirements. While it may be challenging initially, with perseverance it will be a habit that is worth nurturing.

It is worth mentioning that you can change how you maintain your learning journal. There are many ideas for learning journals, Terry Hick lists 20 different styles on his blog post (Heick, 2017) that are well worth looking at, these can be combined in any way to help your learning experience. The important point to take away from this blog is that learning journals help and are well worth considering in a life of learning experiences.

This is a screen shot of the start of my notes on One Note for week 2 which I found interesting but slightly frustrating as I had to juggle the publication of a carol book alongside some reading and forum work. The red circles are notes of some forum questions and there is a phrase I want to remember.



Chris Caton-Greasley LLCM(TD) MA (Mus)(Open)

Ethnographic Musicologist, Teacher, Researcher

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