Student learning logs
Often students are not well equipped to understand how they learn and teaching students how to learn is as important as teaching them content. This is because acquiring both the right learning strategies and background knowledge is important, if not essential, for promoting lifelong learning (Dunlosky, 2013).
To support parents in helping students focus on learning, one really helpful strategy is if students keep a rolling ‘learning log’ of where they are having difficulties, or what they are learning about the process/concepts as they engage in the various activities. This can be either:
- Emailed to the teacher, or
- Discussed with parents, or
- Students can be encouraged to use a closed space within the school or college learning platform, or other online tools such as Google Docs, to post up their reflections weekly.
After carrying out the activity, students can be encouraged to think about how they learned, and to add their responses to their learning log, by using questions prompts such as:
- What was your starting point for tackling this challenge?
- What did you do next?
- Did you change anything? Why?
- What helped you when you got stuck?
- What have you learned?
Here are some examples of challenges that you could use this technique with:
- Problem solving activities: Example pH Farming Problem (shared with kind permission).
- Constructing model answers to a question using a provided list of key words.
- Creating a diagram to explain a scientific phenomenon, for example why objects reflect, absorb or transmit visible light.
Design an activity so that the emphasis is on the student exploring how they tackled their learning. You can use one of the suggested activities above and the question prompt bookmark for inspiration, or you can create your own and share your idea.
© National STEM Learning Centre