Monday, March 21, 2016

Using Learning Logs in the College Classroom

It’s no question that reflection is an important element in the learning process.  In order to move forward utilizing newly-learned information, knowledge has to be moved from working to long-term memory.  Reflection is a great tool to use in order to make this transfer take place.

Thus, learning logs.  Kadriye O. Lewis, a professor of pediatrics at the UKMC School of Medicine uses learning logs in order to promote student reflection in her online courses.  Essentially, a learning log is a journal-entry based learning tool that students are asked to fill out after each section of a course.  In these logs, students write about things like:

  • What they learned
  • What they studied
  • What struggles they faced
  • What they would like to know more about
  • What they would like help with
  • What their plans are for future work in the course
  • What experiences they have had that relate directly to the discussion topic

Naturally, these are only a few suggestions and learning logs can be utilized in a variety of different ways.  Regardless of what prompt students are asked to consider, the purpose of the log is to strengthen student comprehension and retention of information through reflection on their learning experiences.  These kinds of reflections have been shown to improve students’ metacognitive ability to self-monitor their own learning, and thus, improve learning itself through this process.  Students are involved in a more active way of learning and are asked to think about the content in a deeper and practical way.

Not to mention, learning logs provide a great way for teachers to get to know their students.  Since students are writing about their learning processes through a specific section of the course, instructors are able to use this information in order to understand each student’s comprehension of the material and offer clarification where needed.  This is especially helpful in online communities where student/teacher interaction tends to be considerably lower than face-to-face courses.

Adapted from: Magna Publications
Written By: Jessica Moser 

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