What is a Learning Log?
Think about the learning log as having a structured conversation with yourself that also allows you to ask for support from your tutor and your advisor.
Writing a learning log helps you to reflect on what you have learnt and what you are trying to achieve. The questions in the learning log ask you about what you did, what language skills you have practiced, how you have practiced them, and what questions you still have. The learning log clarifies what you already know and thus helps you to prepare yourself for future study. Reviewing your accomplishments will also help you sustain the motivation needed for autonomous language study.
Benefits of Using a Learning Log
Reflective activities such as the learning log improve learning in a number of ways:
- Help you identify what you have learned and the areas in which you need to improve
- Allow you to see learning patterns and preferences
- Document your reflections on your progress, problems encountered and ways that you might resolve them
- Document your activities so that notes can be readily accessed for future study
- Require you to organize your learning
- Enable you to write down questions for your tutor and advisor as they arise
- Allow you to communicate your responses in ways that you feel comfortable
Most importantly, reflecting on your learning experience takes time and practice, but ultimately helps you to become a more active, aware learner. You will be able to relate your immediate work to the long-term goals you have identified either in your final semester evaluation or on the form entitled “Language Learning Goals.” These general goals provide the standards against which to measure your present achievements and observations.
Organizing your Learning Log
Decide how you are going to organize your work. Are you going to jot down notes on a daily basis, discussing what you have done, activities you have parti cipated in, materials you have worked with, including your reflections?
Or, would you rather structure your data collection by identifying in advance the skills you will need to work on, the topics and activities that interest you, then creating opportunities to learn about those topics sometime during the week?
Get into the habit of completing your account regularly at a time that bests suits you; this could be daily or weekly. By adopting a more analytical and reflective approach to your language study, you will gain greater insights into how you are progressing. From this you will be able to learn more about yourself, the skills you have been developing and how your current work relates to the language learning goals you want to have accomplished by the end of the semester.
Tips for writing reflectively
- your writing has a purpose
- you give yourself time to consider what really happened
- you try to include the tutor’s feedback on your learning
- you reflect on what you have learnt about yourself
- you think of how you would do something differently another time
You often have some flexibility in the topics or issues you write about in your log, but be sure to include any specific information requested.