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Introducing the voluntary sector
Introducing the voluntary sector

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5.2 Get into the habit

To get into the habit of reflecting on learning from work or volunteering, you could keep a Learning Log. Box 1 explains how to do this.

Box 1 Learning Logs

A simple but effective way of getting to grips with the idea of reflection is to set ten minutes aside each week to write a Learning Log – every Friday afternoon, for example. A Learning Log is a bit like a diary or portfolio, but it has set headings that encourage you to record key events/experiences since the last log, your reactions to them, and then reflect on them to draw out conclusions about what happened and determine any subsequent actions you should take.

Here are four things to record in a simple Learning Log:

  1. the experience/situation/event
  2. your initial reactions to the experience/situation/event
  3. what you did
  4. what you learned from the experience/situation/event.

Tips for using Learning Logs

  • Make sure you keep your learning logs in a file or folder, so you can reflect on them again at a later stage. Reflection is better if it is a cumulative process.
  • They may be very useful when compiling a Personal Development Plan or CV, preparing for an interview, or for informing future assessment strategies based on your performance so far.
  • Your perspectives change over time. What is really interesting is to go back and look at your observations once the dust has settled. You may identify patterns of thinking or behaviour, or come to different conclusions with the benefit of hindsight.
(Source: The University of Manchester, n.d.)

Activity 10 Keeping a learning log

Timing: Allow approximately 10 minutes per week

Using the guidelines in Box 1, complete a Learning Log once a week for the next few weeks. Then discuss your reflections with a friend or colleague. You are almost at the end of the course so this might be something you’d prefer to take forward over the coming months.


Reflection is useful on your own but you will probably find you get even more from it by talking it over with a friend or colleague. It helps you distance yourself from the situation a little and explore different perspectives.