The learning log

The learning log is possibly the most essential part of the student experience, however at times it can be the least understood aspect as students embark on a course.

At its most simple, it is a log of the learning taking place. For photography students where a blog is a mandatory part of the course, there is a misconception that the blog is the learning log, and this is not the case.

The blog is the vessel, for want of a better term, the place to record all your work completed for the course. The work on the blog will be made up of:

  • Coursework – projects/exercises from the course handbook
  • Assignments – work produced in response to the assignment brief at the end of each part of the course
  • Learning log – the log is everything else

To expand on the log – it can feature:

  • your own independent research
  • reading around the wider subject of photography and visual/creative arts
  • thoughts on topical stories
  • write ups of exhibition visits or programmes/podcasts viewed or listened to
  • ideas for future projects
  • details of your own side projects
  • plans for pacing your work through the course
  • reflections on your progress
  • a pace to vent frustrations and celebrate successes

All the above, and more can be included. Finding a way to record this information is the key that will ultimately shape the way your work on the course.

For some students a disciplined approach of updating the log on a weekly basis works. Think about planning ahead and reflecting on the work done so far. If this is done regularly, it can help with time management and pacing of workload. Other students prefer a more ad hoc approach and write up as and when they are producing work.

Find the approach that works best for you. However, experience shows that writing little and often is better than long and sporadic posts. The log can become the key to keeping momentum on your studies.

Maybe you haven’t done much work for a while, then reflect on that. Look at the course material, it may be that life is preventing from you doing the very next page in the course. Could you be doing something else subject related instead?

Ultimately the hardest thing about the learning log, is starting it. We are often very self-conscious when we start writing, particularly when we are reflecting on our own work. It is much easier to write factually. However be brave, and start.

The more you practice this type of writing, the easier it becomes.

Remember the learning log:

  • Is an important aspect of your course
  • This is a record of your experiences thoughts and feelings
  • A place to reflect on your learning activities such as courses you went on, exhibitions visited, books read, discussions had, internet sites browsed and tv programmes watched

When you write be:

  • questioning
  • tolerant
  • analytical
  • diplomatic
  • assertive
  • reflective
  • and self aware


For more information on learning logs look at the following guides. They can be accessed on www.oca-student.com using your OCA email and password.

Go to Resources > Resource Types > Getting Started Study Guides

An Introduction to Studying in HE – section 6 covers learning logs

Introduction to Learning Logs – an in-depth guide with lots of advice and guidance


Also published on Medium.

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