What is a learning log?

As I understand it so far, from the study guide, OCA videos, and student website & forum, it’s (in no particular order)…

• a personal record of aims, experiences, thoughts, feelings, analysis & reflections

• a combination of scrapbook, notebook & diary

• a place to evaluate activities, theory, newly acquired knowledge, & their relevance to my work

• a notebook in which to write about exhibitions, books, articles, websites, TV, and research into other artists, movements, theories & concepts

• a means of communicating my progress to my tutor, and to reflect & report on feedback (don’t quote directly without tutor’s permission)

• somewhere to record & reflect on my work development, failures, successes & learning

• a place to acknowledge fears

• somewhere to identify & question my values, beliefs & assumptions

• somewhere to plan, develop, and collect evidence of learning & skills

• a place where my inspirations and influences should be evident

• a means of developing an artistic or critical voice

• a place to question, think, analyse, be open, communicate, reflect, be aware

• somewhere to be honest

More specifically, it should include…

• visual research & analysis of other artists’ work – include images, notes, dates, media type, titles & artist or author.  Analyse what is being portrayed. What does it mean to me? Note the construction – marks, lines, shapes, colours, textures, form, tone, composition (formal visual language). How does this convey a message? Look at symbolism. Enquire. Do this as often as possible.

• contextual research – thoughts on associated articles, reviews, books, documentaries, exhibitions.  Always note sources. Place the work or the artist in a social, political, religious, or historical context. Include my own reflections. Compare with other pieces from the same artist, or from other artists (contemporary or historical). Notice contrasting opinions & different interpretations. How does this information affect my own views or understanding?  Can it help me develop?

• critically-informed practice – my own work in a context of what I’ve learned.

• planning, production & presentation of my course work.

• assignment planning – note keywords, concepts, specific instructions. Bear in mind any advice from tutor. Show relevant ideas for research – planned exhibitions, online searches for information, books to read. Consider using mind maps – explore connections/associations with key concepts or ideas.

• personal reflections, especially after completing significant activities.

• responses to the course tasks (with headings), answers to learning log questions, and my reflections of the work produced – what will I take forward?

• a navigable layout of information (create categories based on course, project & assignment headings rather than on dates).

• links to all posts leading towards a final piece of work


• OCA, Introducing Learning Logs