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PGCME Learning log guidance-1

Learning log or learning journal
A learning log is a basic record or journal of your personal learning experience. It
is NOT a formal or “academic “piece of work, but a personal record and, just as
with a diary, there is no right or wrong way of recording information. However, as
part of this course you are asked, and indeed required, to make an entry in your
learning log after each of the contact days and ideally at other times, for example
after you have tried putting in to practice some of the ideas which you have been
introduced to.
We recognise that some of you may not find this easy at first, and it does take
discipline to get in to the habit of using a log/journal, but many previous
participants on similar courses (including members of the current faculty!) have
said at the end that it was one of the most valuable projects they have engaged
in. In addition, it is particularly useful when you come to write up formal
assignments as it will provide you with a framework and examples of how you
have developed as a teacher and a learner on this course.
A learning log is therefore specifically designed to help you record, structure,
think about, reflect upon, plan, develop and provide evidence of your own
Many of us with busy professional lives will not have been required to undertake
such an exercise for some time (if indeed ever!), although our trainees should be
doing it all the time, and we as educational supervisors are meant to ensure they
are doing so! In addition, those of you who are used to writing classical ‘research
papers/books’ may find this more challenging, as the writing styles/requirements
differ quite markedly. So what follows are some simple suggestions to make this
as quick and painless as possible, but at the same time useful, and also to
encourage reflection which, as you will see, is a vital part of adult learning.
One of the most important parts of any learning log is that it contains a statement
or conclusion about what you have learnt and how you will use the new
information/ knowledge/skills or teaching techniques in the future in your role as
a teacher in medicine.
As this is a personal document its structure can be adapted to meet your needs,
but here are some simple ideas to consider, and we will ‘reinforce’ these at the
conclusion of each of the main teaching sessions.
After a specific teaching session/day try writing down 3-5 bullet points that
summarise the main things you have learnt/discovered
After a specific teaching session think about 3 things that you experienced as a
learner yourself - this might include a description of what you found useful
about the teaching, what was not useful, or any ideas that it has given you for
delivery of teaching in the future – i.e. consider the ‘process’ of the teaching
An overall summary – try to summarise in no more than 3-5 bullet points any
other specific things that struck you and that you might go away and try out
when you next run a teaching session
After the teaching session reflect on how things went and what went well, what
went less well and what you might think about changing next time
One advantage of revisiting previous logs is that you can actually see if what you
are learning yourself is helping in your own teaching; if not question why not and
what you might do differently? New skills and methods will take time to develop
and be refined as you develop them – it is similar to sports coaching when the
coach says “why not hold the racquet/club etc. differently”, initially it feels
awkward but then you develop it into your own style – as an adult learner you
pick up what you need and ignore what is not useful!
In essence, much of this is concerned with reflection – although many people
don’t like this word - and we have deliberately avoided using it in our teaching as
it is often a great ‘turn off’ - it is a vital element of what we do on a day to day
basis and here we are considering reflection as a process inherently involved in
the development of professionals (both as clinicians and as teachers)
 It is how we make sense of experiences and what we have learnt from
 Through reflection we examine our own thoughts and actions and make
sense of what we already know, explore our knowledge, actions and
beliefs relating to others and
 Consider whether a change in our perspective, beliefs, knowledge or
behaviour is needed
 The process of writing these thoughts down in a structured way cements
these processes more fully than just thinking about the process alone
You might find the following guide helpful to read which has some ideas for GP
registrars on how to complete their e portfolio learning log – look at the sections
on Levels of reflection (page 6) and the sample templates.
Download Eportfolio learning log completion guide.