Learning Biography

This is a specific task at the Hanze University of Applied Sciences arts pedagogy MA program. During the program application phase, the students are already reflecting on their learning already when applying to the program and then each semester during their first study year by writing down how they see their different roles.

  • Reflecting through writing on how the students see their different roles:
    • Artist
    • Educator
    • Researcher
    • Student
      • Includes interaction of experiences as a student and experiences of taking the teaching role, shifting into a new role, both points of views
    • Professional / private person
  • The biography may be done in imaginative ways, using one’s own artform, but language must always be included.
  • The Learning Biography is “a sketch book” to produce raw material daily
    • What struck me today?
      • Professionally
      • Personally
      • In terms of themes and practices of the day
  • The documentation is lived experience in the moment, experiential, authentic and has specificity of experience. These notes may be looked back on later.


  • The Learning Biography is like a compass: where am I heading, where do I need to go? It is also a map for the teachers to see the student’s direction.
  • In the second year, the students write a Master Biography. Looking back at the Learning Biography and reflecting on it supports the process of the Master Biography and provides material for it.

Who with:

  • Students or professionals who aim to document and reflect on their learning or professional development in the long-term.

Nathalie Beekman and Gudrun Beckmann, Hanze University of Applied Sciences, Groningen, Netherlands.