Learning and development Planning Writing tips

Learning journals reinforce what we learn

A woman sitting on top of a rock writing in a journal.

Learning journals are a great way to make sure new knowledge is embedded in our brains. Reflecting on what we’ve learned is a key step in any professional development pursuit, but it can easily be overlooked. Taking note of what was new, what we struggled with, what we’ll use in future — this kind of thinking helps to ‘crystallise’ learning so we can put it into practice.

But reflection doesn’t happen automatically — particularly when we’re squeezing microlearning moments into busy workdays. To make the biggest impact, it needs to be active and intentional. That’s where a simple journalling tool can make a big difference.

To get the most out of microlearning, download the learning journal template at the bottom of this blog and share it around. Make filling in the learning journal a habitual part of professional development in your organisation.

Keeping a journal helps the learning to stick

A learning journal or record of learning is a simple tool to help people reflect on what they’ve learned.

Reflection is part of the personalised learning approach and a valuable part of the learning cycle — It helps the learning to stick. More specifically, reflecting on their learning helps a learner’s understanding of the topic. It improves their practice and supports their professional growth by helping them connect new learning with previous experience.

They’ll also think of new topics to explore. In Write Online’s microlearning content library, they can choose to follow up on more videos in the same series, or branch out into related topics.

Here’s a scenario showing a learning journal in action

Renata needs some help writing better emails. She starts with the ‘Approaching emails effectively’ series. She learns first about how to identify and understand email readers — who she’s writing to and why. Then she discovers how to plan her email before she starts to write. In a third video, she finds out how to craft a compelling subject line. From there she extends her learning to a topic she’s encountered in her work before: writing difficult emails.

Renata writes these notes in her learning journal:

I watched the videos on ‘Approaching emails effectively’. I like the advice in these videos. I haven’t really thought carefully about how I write emails before. I tend to start writing and any planning I do is in the moment as I write. However, I can see that putting a few minutes into planning my emails will help them to be more effective. So I’m going to start thinking through who I’m writing to, planning my content, and using more compelling subject lines. And in some cases, I might decide to have a meeting instead of writing an email.

Watching these videos reminded me of a few times I had to write a difficult email with bad news. So, I decided to watch the videos ‘Pause and Plan before breaking bad news’ and ‘Six questions to ask yourself before breaking bad news’.

I noticed similar themes that aligned with the advice in the first videos — essentially that considering your reader and planning your communication are important steps. The steps and questions mentioned in the videos will help me to craft my messages so that they land as well as possible.

Renata’s notes show she has reflected on where the microlearning content helped her the most. She’s identified what she will do differently in future, and extended her learning to apply those improvements more specifically to bad news emails.

This record of her learning will be useful for Renata to revisit. Plus, the act of writing down her thoughts and insights helps crystallise them into good practice.

Microlearning supports a personalised learning approach and suits any workplace

In microlearning settings, such as Write Online, learners engage with bite-sized, focused content. A personalised learning approach helps the microlearning content fit with their specific needs in the workplace.

Personalised learning is an approach to education and training that allows space for people’s unique needs and abilities. Content can be adapted to suit individuals rather than offering a one-size-fits-all experience. Personalised learning helps keep people motivated and actively involved in their own learning programme. With microlearning, this approach becomes even more powerful.

For example, on Write Online a range of content pathways cater to different workplace problems, skill levels, and learning preferences. Videos are supported by downloadable resources and transcripts. Different teams and individuals have different gaps in their knowledge. They excel at some things, and need a refresher on others. Microlearning with Write Online offers content that’s diverse and flexible enough to fill those different gaps.

And the format of the content — mostly short videos under 10 minutes — means learners can easily fit learning ‘snacks’ into their usual working day.

Learners can decide on the order they will watch the videos in. And they can decide when and where they will watch the content. This flexibility enables them to personalise their own learning approach for the best outcomes.

Download a learning journal template

You can download our learning journal template, adapt it to suit your team’s learning goals, and send it round your team. We hope you find it useful. Make sure to check in with team members from time to time so they can share their insights

Download the learning journal template (Word Document, 685KB)

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