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Critical self-reflection

Activity: Writing a Reflective Learning Journal

Writing a Reflective learning journal

The use of a reflective learning journal is a common and valuable approach.

You can adopt a structure for each journal entry, which could include the setting and date, what you did, and key critical notes on your reflections about the activity and what you think you learned. 


Consider a recent learning experience which you have had.

This could be a skill you have developed, such as driving or playing an instrument, or the overall experience of your last semester.

  1. Identify two things that you did or habits that you developed that helped you to learn.
  2. Now consider how can you apply the things or habits that worked for you before to future learning experiences?
  3. Identify two things or habits that could have been better in your previous learning experience.
  4. What were the barriers to you learning before?
  5. How do you hold yourself back from learning?
  6. Based on your responses to the five questions, what could you do differently to  make your ability to learn better in the future?

Structured journal entry: Example answer

Reflecting on my learning experience

First reflection


Second reflection

Name: Mary Hooper

Date: 19 January 2020

What learning experience is being reflected on?

Doing LibQuest in the Library

What did you do?

What habits did you develop that helped you to learn?

Completed activities and tasks introducing me to the library


  • Make a note of shelfmarks when finding books
  • Remember my PIN to borrow books
  • Thinking around the subject to find new information
  • Allow enough time to find information when completing an assignment
What is most important/interesting/useful /relevant?
  • Allow enough time to find information when completing an assignment


How can you apply any of these things or habits to future learning experiences?
  • Plan time to search for library information when doing assignments
  • Allow time to think about what and how to write my assignment

What things or habits could have been better?

  • I should have found out more about how the Learning Hub can help me develop my skills
  • I should have found out more about referencing


How did you feel when you were learning?

What barriers do you need to overcome in order to learn?

  • It was an interactive experience, meaning that I got hands-on practice
  • I needed to overcome my anxiety about using such a big library
  • I became more of an independent learner
What could you do differently to make your ability to learn better in the future?
  • Allow enough time
  • Make use of all the resources on offer
  • Make sure I don't have too high expectations of myself for the first assignment - I will learn and get better as I progress through my studies