Saturday, January 10, 2009

On the use of a Learning Journal

This blog is essentially a learning journal. Typically, a learning journal is a private journal. This blog is therefore the public/sharable version of a learning journal and my recent focus on a particular didactic novel writing project makes it currently focused on that.

As I've probably mentioned in a previous blog post, I am highly challenged with regards to organizing my notes. I use a dozen different methods of keeping track of thoughts, references, reflections, books to read, articles of interest, etc... The result is complete chaos.

Instead of viewing this "chaos" as a problem, I've decided to temporarily assume that there's nothing wrong with what I am doing. Let's call it a decentralized approach to note taking.

As a side note, I was introduced to the concept of "indirect proof" this week -- yes, your child's geometry homework is a potential source of learning and inspiration. An "indirect proof is a type of proof in which a statement to be proved is assumed false and if the assumption leads to an impossibility, then the statement assumed false has been proved to be true." (Mathematics Dictionary)

So, if I start with the assumption that what I refer to as chaos is a good thing, where can I logically go with that. How good is it? Do I need more chaos? Do I need to refrain completely from trying to keep notes in any organized fashion? Do I need to stop worrying about it? None of these appear to be silly questions to me, so what if I pursued this line of reasoning a little further.

Why would I want my notes to be organized? Do I ever re-read them? Not really. I benefit from them primarily because of the thought processes that went into actually writing down something. If I ever end up re-reading them, I won't be looking for something specific, I will more likely be looking for a source of inspiration. It won't matter if my thoughts are captured on 10 different tools and in 20 different files as long as I know what these things are and where to find them. Right?

I will now commit to not obsessing so much about the chaotic nature of my personal reflections and notetaking habits. :) I will not try to stick to a single "learning journal". I will, however, revisit the personal learning environment map I had created a while ago to keep track of the many notebooks and tools I use.

Some resources on professional journaling:

* Journaling for Learning
* Writing a reflective learning journal
* Keeping a professional journal
* Journaling Portal

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