Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Learning Journal; tracking progress and boosting morale

I had forgotten about a former professor's learning journal tool. I know this sounds really cheesy. When I took his class, it seemed like a cheesy thing for such a cool hip professor to obsess over then, too. But this deliberately forgotten nugget popped onto the radar after I wrote about learning so much through blogging. It occurred to me that I should make notes of things I was learning in case they might be good for resume or interview fodder; and the light came on that it sounded like Dr. Smith's Learning Journal. (Shoutout to any W people lurking out there)

A learning journal is really more like a list rather than long-hand prose written about whatever topic. Also, it doesn't have to be called a learning journal, that was just a convenient designation for one application. In the case of the class learning journal the professor passed out a sheet - yellow in this instance - that had the dates of every class meeting typed down the lefthand edge. At the end of class you were expected to note something you learned in that class session; and these were collected at the last class session.

For this current version of learning journal I am keeping mine in a text file so that as it grows I can sort the entries by categories with fewer headaches because obviously some items will have more relevance for a particular objective than others. Also, where skills build on one another, lower threshold skills can be replaced by their higher function counterpart later on.

But keeping a log or journal of the things I am learning has other benefits. Some days, when I am bogged down by too much criticism at once or a writing project is snarled in confusion, it can help to remind myself that I am learning new stuff that is moving me forward even if that movement is barely perceptible at the moment. The list is a reminder that I am learning real skills; like uploading and editing photographs online which a couple of weeks ago I thought I needed to get a graphics person to do for me. Is everything on the list going to be earth-shaking; probably not, but independence and self-sufficiency are very empowering tools for a person to have.

"So...did you learn anything today? If so, please make a note of it in your Learning Journal." (Dr. Smith)


Laurel Wreath said...

This is an awesome idea! I really need to do something like that. Thank you SO MUCH for your encouragement on my blog, you really don't know how much that means. I will admit most of us, if not all of us are a bit scared to death with this new adventure.


G's Cottage said...

Your welcome; and I hope the tool helps you meet some of your goals in blogging. I have starting seeing blogging as sort of like learning a new dance: Step forward, Step backward, Catch breath; Repeat.


sylvia c. said...

I love this idea, too.

It reminds me of another practice, where you remind yourself to be grateful by listing 3 good things that happened during the day.

This great exercise reminds us to learn!

thanks for sharing!

Sylvia C.

G's Cottage said...

Right. I think Oprah promoted "Gratitude Journaling" for a while. Maybe she still does, but I don't watch daytime TV.