Journaling allows learners to reflect on their thinking and feelings, process their learning, and connect new information to what they know and their practical experiences. Journals can be used in formal ways to reflect on what the learners are learning, or as a more informal form of expression, where they can serve as safe spaces for learners to make their learning visible and to share their difficulties, questions, and emotions about a topic. Dialogue journals can provide Social Supports, increase Motivation, foster a Learner Mindset, and support vocabulary development, especially for English language learners.
By using the journals for check-ins, low-lights and highlights, as well as feedback, an instructor is able to trace their learning, make the class more relevant to adult learners, and give everyone an opportunity to actively contribute, thus improving Motivation along with Composition. Journals can be context specific or metacognitive by design.
Instructors can incorporate structured and unstructured journaling in a variety of ways. Asking specific questions on what was learned can guide learners to journal about more specific ideas. These reflective journals, where learners record their learning, or trace how their perspectives change, can help develop their Metacognition and Problem Solving skills. Dialogue journals where learners engage in an ongoing conversation with the instructors are particularly effective with adult English language learners and help foster their sense of self-efficacy while fostering a Learner Mindset. Freewriting in journals can also help develop Composition skills.
Product developers can integrate ways for learners to reflect upon their learning using multimedia approaches and make it visible through different kinds of journaling exercises. Using an online tool like Google Classroom, an instructor can assign daily prompts as assignments, and learners can then write creative responses to these prompts in Google Docs. The instructor can then interact with the learners on these journals, thus allowing it to be an interactive space for the instructor to engage with the learners on their learning.
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