Digital tools for learners to record their feelings, observations and reactions and to reflect on their learning
Journal tasks for childcare students which encourage reflection on attitudes and longstanding behaviours
|Source||Cybertots Flexible Learning Toolbox, Australian Flexible Learning Framework|
|Use||CHC30399 Certificate III in Community Services (Children's Services)|
|Delivery||Can be delivered using a CD or loaded into a subject delivery system.|
|Customisation||The material in this Toolbox has been developed to allow for customisation.|
|Availability||Details of how to purchase this Toolbox are available on the Australian Flexible Learning Framework site listed above.|
Why include online journals?
Online learning journals collect experiences and reflections on the learning process on a regular basis. They are particularly useful for learners who are engaged in work placements or clinical experience.
Trainers can support learners to use a journal:
- As a diary, to record their thoughts about their work and training
- How would you describe your learning progress?
- What happened?
- Who was involved?
- What did you feel?
- Any thoughts on further progress?
- As a tool to help learners plan and reflect in a structured way
- What helped you most to achieve this weeks learning goals
Many learners may be existing members of social networking sites such as MySpace and FaceBook. However encouraging learners to have separate a separate spaces for their journal is a great way to teach learners about the different voices that they can have can use, the different writing styles and the different communities they can maintain through the internet. Many learners will not want to cross over their social networking activities into your learning tasks.
- are often based on personal reflections and feelings
- may be a conversation between the learner and the teacher or between learners and their peers
- may include responses to some sort of stimulus, content presentation, reading task etc
- can be used to ask learners to detail their thinking processes behind a particular problem they are solving or a project they are constructing
- can document the creative process during a design project
- demonstrate a learner's growing self awareness of their own learning
- teachers will often keep their own journal as a model for learners.
Integrating online journals
- Decide on how to use a journal in your online program.
- Decide on the technology platform learners will use to develop their journals. (see the Technical notes below and Blogs, Wikis, Discussions and E-portfolios).
- Prepare instructions for your learners on how to develop and manage their online journals.
- Provide some models to your learners on how they may structure their reflections.
- Clarify the number and scope of entries and the degree to which the journal will be viewed by others.
- Offer suggestions, constructive remarks, questions, and encouragement on a regular basis.
- Provide instructions on how the electronic journal will be submitted (emailed to the teacher, placed on a website or blog, uploaded to a Learning Management System).
Using journals as an assessment task is fraught with difficulties. Learners are less likely to express themselves freely if they feel that their reflections and observations are going to be used in an assessment situation. However it is possible to use the journals or selected parts of the journal for assessment purposes provided that the learners are given clear guidance on the criteria which will be used to assess their contributions. Learners can be given an assessment rubric which clearly outlines expectations and how they will be assessed. As each journal is likely to be unique this is sometimes difficult to frame but is critical in ensuring a fair and valid assessment process.
The Thinking Gear website at http://www.thinkinggear.com/provides tools to develop a rubric electronically.
Working on a journal is likely to engage learners in reflection about their own learning which may assist them in developing generic skills.
There are several software programs which learners could use to keep electronic journals. These include:
- using a Word processing program such as Word or Word Perfect and either emailing or uploading the document at stated times
- using the note-taking function in Learning Management Systems such Moodle, Janisons and Blackboard which can be compiled and saved as a text file
- developing a blog to record their experiences
- contributing to a group wiki to share experiences with co learners
- maintaining a journal within a personal e portfolio
- setting up individual, private topics in a discussion forum which are only available to the teacher and the individual learner.
You need skills in motivating learners, encouraging them in their writing and in providing constructive feedback.
From the Framework
More resources from the Australian Flexible Learning Framework
- Wikis and blogs: Tools for learning
This session aims to get teachers and trainers started using wikis and blogs to support learning. Understand the basics, start a wiki or blog, and apply it to a teaching strategy or learning situation.
- Blogging to learn
A paper introducing the blogging phenomenon and presenting some options for educators.
- On your mark, get set, blog!
This brief guide to blogging explores the possibilities of the ‘blogosphere’.
- Networks, connections and community: Learning with social software
This research investigates the use of social software in teaching and learning and in capability building and contributes to our understanding of the ways in which the development of social softwares broadens opportunities for organisations to deliver flexible learning both to internal and external clients.
Tools and resources
- Journal writing prompts
- Writing the journey: Online journal writing workshop
- Discussion activity assessment rubric
Word document (Word 44KB)
- Thinking Gear
Website which provides tools to develop a rubric electronically
A tool which can be used in many different ways: as a private journal, a blog, a discussion forum, a social network, and more.
- Welcome to the e-portfolio