Learning can often be seen as a journey, moving from a to b. Though learners (and practitioners) often focus on the destination, the journey is actually the important part.
When it comes to look back on that journey, either for revision, assessment, moving onto a new journey (qualification), reflection on progress; it can be challenging to see where you have been, remember what you did, you saw, you heard, you challenged, you learnt.
Learners will often have a journal of some kind, usually a folder with notes, handouts, assignments. However a paper based journal requires paper! By placing the journal online, ie on the VLE, the learner suddenly has much more choice when it comes to recording their learning. They can type in text, record an audio file or upload a video. They can put in links to webpages, websites, different parts of the VLE, e-resources, e-Books.
The choice allows learners to record their learning at a time and place to suit them. If they want to quickly type something up they can, if they want to quickly record something using a mobile phone, they can and upload later.
Going online or using a VLE doesn’t stop learners handwriting their reflective journal, very easy these days to use a TabletPC to write, or more simply, write it out on paper, photograph it and upload. Digital cameras and most cameraphones are now more than adequate to photograph text and for it to be readable on a screen.
Learners can also tag their learning entries, making them easier to sort and search later. They won’t need to flick through a large folder they can just enter search terms and find stuff quickly.
So why put it on the VLE?
Well learning can be an individual process, but sometimes learners may want to share their thoughts, and read the thoughts of others.
Tutors may want to be included in the process to allow them to better judge progress been made on the course. Using a VLE allows these users to engage with the learning process.
Using the VLE also allows collaboration between users, so the journey need no longer be a solitary or individual affair it can be a journey with peers.
Another option is to use third party tools, such as wikis or blogs, and embed them into the VLE, this has the advantage of allowing learners to maintain their learning journal once they have left the college. The journal doesn’t need to be constrained by the size of a folder and so can contain a lot of content if required.
It is an expectation that learners will record their learning journey, by using an online journal on the VLE not only will their journal be richer in terms of content, but can be shared, searched and there is a lot less chance of it getting lost!