Keeping a Personal Journal supports your learning process while studying with MOOCs. It helps you to reflect on your learning and to record personal insights and reflections on your experience. Scientific evidence (e.g. Dunlosky & Rawson, 2012) shows that difficulties in autonomous learning are very often based on inaccurate monitoring of your own learning. Using a Personal Journal can help develop such monitoring.
Through the Personal Journal you can:
- clarify questions,
- plan learning steps,
- reflect on content or learning situations,
- write down questions that you want to pursue later,
- evaluate you own activities,
- keep a record of ideas, wishes and even disappointments.
Here’s what some students have said about using the personal journal (names have been changed to protect anonymity):
Gabi (Germany): “One really good thing about the project was the Personal Journal, so that you could keep track of what you are doing, while you are doing it. That was one of the most helpful tools, within the whole eLene4work platform”.
Johan (France): “The programme is really interesting if you follow it completely. I really needed the Personal Journal. It kind of frames the overall process, because you see what you've done and what there is still left to be done, so you can follow the whole process. At first I thought that it was enough to just follow the MOOC, but my teacher said ‘Hmm, we wouldn’t understand how you are doing if you don’t fill in the PJ”. And now I see that I did it correctly, because I can see where I was and what there is still left to be done”. [...] “The first time I filled in the PJ, (i.e. Part A) I didn’t even know what a MOOC is, so it was really overwhelming. Lots of questions, that I didn’t know how to answer. But in the end, when I compared the last part to the first one, I saw the progress. So I think it is necessary to go through the first part, and even if you don’t understand its purpose, when you go to the second part then you get it and say ‘Ok, now I understand what this is for’."
Anna (Finland): "Excellent tool for orientation, planning and keeping up with a timetable - and evaluating one’s learning!"
Personal journals can take any form, it’s the reflective process which counts. You can keep a paper diary, but you could also use an e-portfolio or blog. You can choose to keep your thoughts private, or to make them public. If you publish your personal journal as you go, you will also be developing a number of soft skills and digital soft skills. Which ones will it be for you?!
Dunlosky, J., & Rawson, K. A. (2012). Overconfidence produces underachievement: Inaccurate self evaluations undermine students’ learning and retention. Learning and Instruction, 22(4), 271-280.
Learn more about e-portfolios
Check out the eLene4work Personal Journal at http://pj.elene4work.eu