As I reach the end of this course, it seems appropriate to reflect on my entire learning experience over the past two years. So I’m sitting here this morning surrounded by my old learning journals; it feels really strange to go back and read the very first ones. It’s clear that to begin with I had no idea what a reflective learning journal was or how I could use it as a tool for my personal progression!
Looking at my journal dated 22nd February 2010 to 28th May 2010 it’s clear this was a turning point for me. During my first semester the journal seems very immature and naive; an “I did this and then I did that” document. It doesn’t discuss how anything I did could benefit my work in the future, how it made me feel and barely contains any imagery. I don’t remember what it was that made the purpose of the journal click for me but now I don’t know why I ever found the concept so difficult to understand! I look at the second journal and I’m instantly transported back to that time; all the things I tried and how they worked or didn’t work. The designers and artists that were influencing my work at the time.
At the beginning of year 2 I set up this blog and I feel that this has enabled me to take my reflective learning to the next level, some people questioned how effective keeping my journal in this way would be from a creative point of view. I don’t feel that keeping my journal in this way has made it any less reflective! If anything I’ve found it much easier to put in photos of techniques that I’ve sampled, other designers works I’m looking at etc. I remember spending hours and hours at the end of the first year printing out what felt like millions of photos and photocopies to cut out and stick into gaps in my journal. Now I just upload the photos straight away and they’re there; no glue or scissors required!
I’ve also really enjoyed the feedback I get from people reading my blog; people seem fascinated to read about my learning experience as a fashion student. I think this is testament in itself that my learning journal/blog is an effective tool to give an incite into my thoughts and feelings about what I’m doing. I feel that the blog has been a fantastic tool for reflection and I plan to continue using it for this purpose even after graduation from this course.
I wish that I had begun my journal in this form a lot earlier, I didn’t keep it up over the summer break last year and I feel this was a mistake. It was during the summer months that I undertook two fantastic work placements; the first at Anna Scholz Ltd in London and the second at Damselfly Boutique in Shropshire. Perhaps keeping a journal of my time at these businesses in such a publicly visible format would not have been appropriate but I wish that I had kept it for my own record. The reflective learning journal is something that I feel will be with me for life in one way or another now! I just wish that the idea of it had been more clearly explained to me from day 1 but then I think that if it had been to prescribed then I wouldn’t have developed it into what it is today; something that I find truly useful.
I look at the work I am submitting for this Final Major Project and am filled with pride. Particularly because I don’t feel that any of my learning experience has been spoon fed to me, there are odd occasions where I have felt the lack of support has been inappropriate even for a degree level course. But on the whole, any problems that I’ve encountered I have investigated and resolved on my own and feel that my learning experience and understanding of fashion design and manufacture is stronger than ever and continues to grow.