How to Write a Learning Journal

A learning journal tracks your academic success and struggles.

A learning journal is an excellent tool for any serious student. By creating a record of what you have learned, you are better able to make connections with previous knowledge, to understand the obstacles that go into acquiring that knowledge and to chart your own intellectual development and personal growth.

Choose your journal. This can be anything from a composition book to a leather-bound diary, as long as you find it inviting enough to write in.

Pick a quiet time and place to write, free of pressing obligations and distractions. Remember that this is a special time for you to reflect on yourself, not the laundry or the electric bill.

Follow a consistent format. Although there is no strict way to keep a learning journal, it may help you to have that structure to guide your writing. You might begin your entry by first describing what you are learning.

Talk about any factors affecting the learning process. Are you studying alone or in a group? How does this alter your understanding? Did you come to this subject on your own, or was it assigned?

Write down your feelings about and reactions to what you are studying. Do you agree or disagree? How have your assumptions been challenged? What has inspired you? Note any quotes or concepts that intrigue you. It's helpful to have your learning materials and notes close by for this purpose.

Reflect on what you have learned from the experience, and place it within a larger context. How have you gotten to this point? What can you do to improve in the future? How can you use what you have learned, and how does it relate to anything else?

  • For a successful learning journal, write as frequently as you can manage and make it a habit.

Sophie Levant is a freelance writer based in Michigan. Having attended Michigan State University, her interests include history classical music, travel, and the German language. Her work has been published at eHow and Travels.