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Learning and Lecture Diaries

Learning Diary 

The purpose of a Learning Diary is to function as an instrument for evaluating, reflecting and implementing personal learning and learning strategies. Diary-keeping encourages a learner to introspect, apply information, and form personal views and opinions. A Learning Diary enables a learner to express his/her experiences, support personal growth, and recognize strengths and weaknesses in learning.

There are many names used of Learning Diaries depending on the context and aims of it: Learning Diary, Practical Diary and Reflecting Diary. When the Learning Diary is done about lectures, it is usually referred to as Lecture Diary. The instructions of a Lecture Diary can be applied to writing Learning Diary.

Lecture Diary

A Lecture Diary is a flexible and individual way of learning. The purpose of keeping such a diary is to help the learner to structure information, support learning progress and develop critical thinking. A Lecture Diary draws on the notes made by the user during lectures. The essential points of lectures are reported and accompanied by one’s own understanding, comments and analysis. Other available material can be used to support learning. Thus, a Lecture Diary is not a review or a summary. One’s own thoughts, interpretations and critical analysis are welcome.

Extra material can support and deepen the learning process. News and media can also serve as sources of relevant, useful and current information and material for a Lecture Diary. A Lecture Diary is not a strict and standard document, but instead a personal document presented in a variety of forms.

Working Tips

The following questions can be addressed as guidance to Lecture Diary writing:

Before lectures:

  • Do I have any preconceptions about the course/title? What are they?
  • What are my expectations?
  • What do I already know about the topic?
  • Do I have experiences about the topic? What are my own experiences about the issues?
  • What are my aims? What do I want to learn in this course/session/lecture?

After lectures:

  • What was central?
  • What was new?
  • What was important and relevant to me?
  • How were the issues connected to your previous studies/knowledge?
  • Did the lecture change your previous notions around the issue?
  • What remained unclear? Why?
  • What did the things I learnt mean to me and will I be able to use them in the future? In what way?
  • How could I develop the main ideas further?
  • What was the most important notion/thing? Why