What’s a learning journal?

August 8th, 2006

Use the Learning Journal to reflect on key milestones in your development. It can help you to analyse your progress and to reflect on what you have learned.


The crucial thing is that students can reflect on something they have done in their studies. This is commonly known as reflective learning.

The most popular vehicle for promoting reflection is a ‘learning journal’ (see Moon, 1999a for an excellent introduction to their practical usage). There are many different types (workbooks, diaries, logs, progress files, profiles) but virtually all serve as a point of focus for students to look back over their recent learning and order their thoughts in order to identify strengths, weaknesses, new levels of understanding learnt and review attitudes. They are also used increasingly to record learning in situations like fieldwork and work placements (see second case-study).

Learning and Teaching web

There are many different types of learning journal. Some are highly structured, prompting the user to fill in forms in order to aid their reflecting. Some are more free-form, like a weblog or diary where there is a single box to do the reflecting in.


The OU Profile software is one example of a structured learning journal.

For the ePortfolio, we need to enable the student to do some reflecting on their learning using a learning journal. Because there are different types of journal, we need to make the system flexible enough to cater for these.

Today I’m thinking about exactly how we might do this. If you have any thoughts, please share them!

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