Applying Skills

Process Journal

Create a Process Journal to Record Your Progress

A process journal might include photographs, videos, sketches, experiments, mind maps, brainstorms, interviews, research plans, graphs, charts and other methods. Students might choose to use a digital, physical journal, combination or they might choose to document their work somewhere else, for example on a digital document or blog. They can also add journal entries on ManageBac.


  • Students are expected to document their process.

    • Gather evidence throughout the development

    • Record intents, processes, accomplishments

    • Collection of initial thoughts and developments, brainstorming, possible lines of inquiry and further questions raised

    • Record of interactions with sources e.g. teachers, supervisors, external contributors

    • Record of selected, annotated and/or edited research and to maintain a bibliography (Works Cited)

    • Collection of information e.g. quotations, pictures, ideas, photographs, drawings, etc.

    • Documentation of ideas and solutions

    • A place to evaluate work completed

    • Reflection on the learning

Action Plan

Students can choose how they create their action plan.

Develop a Timeline/Calendar

They might choose to make a spreadsheet to chart their progress or a flowchart to manage the steps of their project or a Trello. A detailed action plan may include a description of each step, resources needed, the time needed and/or deadlines.

Consider what ATL skills you are applying. Record and reflect in your process journal.

What are Approaches to Learning (ATL)?

In order for students to grow as autonomous learners, the IB Middle Years Programme (MYP) intentionally teaches Approaches to Learning (ATL) skills to help students build on the process of learning.


  • Communication: How can students communicate through interaction and demonstrate their communication through language? Students can consider a range of topics such as giving and receiving feedback, oral and written communication, a variety of media, non-verbal communication, digital platforms, purposes and audiences, etc. For example, a student may reflect on their communication with their supervisor, emails to businesses, social media posts, etc.

    • Speaking and Listening

      • Give and receive meaningful feedback

      • Use intercultural understanding to interpret communication

      • Use a variety of speaking techniques to communicate with a variety of audiences

      • Use appropriate forms of writing for different purposes and audiences

      • Use a variety of media to communicate with a range of audiences

      • Interpret and use effectively modes of non-verbal communication

      • Negotiate ideas and knowledge with peers and teachers

      • Participate in, and contribute to, digital social media networks

      • Collaborate with peers and experts using a variety of digital environments and media

      • Share ideas with multiple audiences using a variety of digital environments and media

    • Reading and Writing

      • Read critically and for comprehension

      • Read a variety of sources for information and for pleasure

      • Make inferences and draw conclusions

      • Use and interpret a range of discipline-specific terms and symbols

      • Write for different purposes

      • Understand and use mathematical notation

      • Paraphrase accurately and concisely

      • Preview and skim texts to build understanding

      • Take effective notes in class

      • Make effective summary notes for studying

      • Use a variety of organizers for academic writing tasks

      • Find information for disciplinary and interdisciplinary inquiries, using a variety of media

      • Organize and depict information logically

      • Structure information in summaries, essays and reports


  • Collaboration Skills: How can students collaborate effectively with one another? Students can consider a range of topics such as social media, empathy, delegation and shared responsibility, resolving conflict, building consensus, negotiating, encouraging others to contribute, giving and receiving feedback, etc.? For example, if a student had to work with others to complete his product, he could reflect on how he received feedback and gave feedback to people in a group and how they came to a consensus.

    • Use social media networks appropriately to build and develop relationships

    • Practice empathy

    • Delegate and share responsibility for decision-making

    • Help others to succeed

    • Take responsibility for one’s own actions

    • Manage and resolve conflict, and work collaboratively in teams

    • Build consensus

    • Make fair and equitable decisions

    • Listen actively to other perspectives and ideas

    • Negotiate effectively

    • Encourage others to contribute

    • Exercise leadership and take on a variety of roles within groups

    • Give and receive meaningful feedback

    • Advocate for one’s own rights and needs

Self Management

  • Organization Skills: How can students manage time and tasks effectively to enhance their organizational skills? Students can consider a range of topics such as short vs long term assignments, meeting deadlines, calendar, goal setting, system of information, digital tools, learning styles, etc.? For example, the student could reflect on the use of calendar reminders, lists, and timelines to stay organized.

    • Plan short- and long-term assignments; meet deadlines

    • Create plans to prepare for summative assessments (examinations and performances)

    • Keep and use a weekly planner for assignments

    • Set goals that are challenging and realistic

    • Plan strategies and take action to achieve personal and academic goals

    • Bring necessary equipment and supplies to class

    • Keep an organized and logical system of information files/notebooks

    • Use appropriate strategies for organizing complex information

    • Understand and use sensory learning preferences (learning styles)

    • Select and use technology effectively and productively

  • Affective Skills: How can students manage their own state of mind in order to be healthy and productive contributors to society? Students can consider a range of topics such as practicing mindfulness (concentration and mental breaks to sharpen focus), perseverance (practicing patience and persistence), emotional management (practicing peace and calm and being aware of emotions), self motivation (practicing positive thinking and a growth mindset), and resilience (practicing bouncing back after mistakes and failures and dealing with disappointment or change). For example, the student could reflect on lessons learned by setbacks and routines used to stay focus.

    • Mindfulness awareness

      • Practice focus and concentration

      • Practice strategies to develop mental focus

      • Practice strategies to overcome distractions

      • Practice being aware of body–mind connections

    • Perseverance

      • Demonstrate persistence and perseverance

      • Practice delaying gratification

    • Emotional management

      • Practice strategies to overcome impulsiveness and anger

      • Practice strategies to prevent and eliminate bullying

      • Practice strategies to reduce stress and anxiety

    • Self-motivation

      • Practice analyzing and attributing causes for failure

      • Practice managing self-talk

      • Practice positive thinking

    • Resilience

      • Practice “bouncing back” after adversity, mistakes and failures

      • Practice “failing well”

      • Practice dealing with disappointment and unmet expectations

      • Practice dealing with change

  • Reflection: How can students be reflective of their learning? Students can consider a range of topics such as identifying strengths and weaknesses of personal learning strategies and techniques, reflecting on new learning and areas for further exploration or confusion, reviewing the process of learning, etc. For example, a student may evaluate the process and what is working well and what is not.

    • Develop new skills, techniques and strategies for effective learning

    • Identify strengths and weaknesses of personal learning strategies (self-assessment)

    • Demonstrate flexibility in the selection and use of learning strategies

    • Try new ATL skills and evaluate their effectiveness

    • Consider content

      • What did I learn about today?

      • What don’t I yet understand?

      • What questions do I have now?

    • Consider ATL skills development

      • What can I already do?

      • How can I share my skills to help peers who need more practice?

      • What will I work on next?

    • Consider personal learning strategies

      • What can I do to become a more efficient and effective learner?

      • How can I become more flexible in my choice of learning strategies?

      • What factors are important for helping me learn well?

    • Focus on the process of creating by imitating the work of others

    • Consider ethical, cultural and environmental implications

    • Keep a journal to record reflections


  • Information Literacy: How can students demonstrate information literacy? Students can consider a range of topics such as collecting, recording, and analyzing data; making connections between various sources, analyzing information to make informed decisions, using critical thinking skills to analyze and interpret media communications, and evaluate and select informational tools based on their relevance and appropriateness. For example, a student may reflect on their line of inquiry and how they broke it down into different researchable parts. A student may annotate their bibliography in order to show the significance and purpose behind each source.

    • Collect, record and verify data

    • Access information to be informed and inform others

    • Make connections between various sources of information

    • Understand the benefits and limitations of personal sensory learning preferences when accessing, processing and recalling information

    • Use memory techniques to develop long-term memory

    • Present information in a variety of formats and platforms

    • Collect and analyse data to identify solutions and make informed decisions

    • Process data and report results

    • Evaluate and select information sources and digital tools based on their appropriateness to specific tasks

    • Understand and use technology systems

    • Use critical-literacy skills to analyse and interpret media communications

    • Understand and implement intellectual property rights

    • Create references and citations, use footnotes/endnotes and construct a bibliography according to recognized conventions

    • Identify primary and secondary sources

  • Media Literacy: How can students demonstrate media literacy? Students can consider a range of topics such as how they interact with media to use and create interpretations of information, seeking a range of perspectives from multiple sources, communicating through various platforms, and seeking to understand connections by comparing and contrasting and evaluating a variety of media and formats.For example, a student may compare and contrast sources to glean the most relevant information and make inferences.

    • Locate, organize, analyse, evaluate, synthesize and ethically use information from a variety of sources and media (including digital social media and online networks)

    • Demonstrate awareness of media interpretations of events and ideas (including digital social media)

    • Make informed choices about personal viewing experiences

    • Understand the impact of media representations and modes of presentation

    • Seek a range of perspectives from multiple and varied sources

    • Communicate information and ideas effectively to multiple audiences using a variety of media and formats

    • Compare, contrast and draw connections among (multi)media resources


  • Critical Thinking: How can students think critically? Students can consider a range of topics such as gathering and organizing information into an argument, recognizing assumptions and bias in perspectives, drawing conclusions and generalizations, understanding counterarguments to see multiple perspectives, identifying trends, etc. For example, a student may reflect on advantages and disadvantages (pro/con) of the research or collect data to analyze and form conclusions.

    • Practice observing carefully in order to recognize problems

    • Gather and organize relevant information to formulate an argument

    • Recognize unstated assumptions and bias

    • Interpret data

    • Evaluate evidence and arguments

    • Recognize and evaluate propositions

    • Draw reasonable conclusions and generalizations

    • Test generalizations and conclusions

    • Revise understanding based on new information and evidence

    • Evaluate and manage risk

    • Formulate factual, topical, conceptual and debatable questions

    • Consider ideas from multiple perspectives

    • Develop contrary or opposing arguments

    • Analyse complex concepts and projects into their constituent parts and synthesize them to create new understanding

    • Propose and evaluate a variety of solutions

    • Identify obstacles and challenges

    • Use models and simulations to explore complex systems and issues

    • Identify trends and forecast possibilities

    • Troubleshoot systems and applications

  • Creativity and innovation: How can students be creative? Students can consider a range of topics such as brainstorming and mind mapping ideas, creating solutions to complex problems, designing improvements to existing systems or creating new ones, applying existing knowledge to generate new ideas, practicing flexible thinking, etc. For example, a student may sketch ideas and develop a prototype for a product.

    • Use brainstorming and visual diagrams to generate new ideas and inquiries

    • Consider multiple alternatives, including those that might be unlikely or impossible

    • Create novel solutions to authentic problems

    • Make unexpected or unusual connections between objects and/or ideas

    • Design improvements to existing machines, media and technologies

    • Design new machines, media and technologies

    • Make guesses, ask “what if” questions and generate testable hypotheses

    • Apply existing knowledge to generate new ideas, products or processes

    • Create original works and ideas; use existing works and ideas in new ways

    • Practise flexible thinking—develop multiple opposing, contradictory and complementary arguments

    • Practise visible thinking strategies and techniques

    • Generate metaphors and analogies

  • Transferring Skills: How can students transfer skills and knowledge among disciplines? Students can consider a range of topics such as applying effective learning strategies from one discipline to another, comparing their conceptual understanding across multiple disciplines, combining knowledge and understanding to create new solutions, etc. For example, a student may list their prior learning and make connections to their new learning and show how the transfer of knowledge provided new insights.

    • Use effective learning strategies in subject groups and disciplines

    • Apply skills and knowledge in unfamiliar situations

    • Inquire in different contexts to gain a different perspective

    • Compare conceptual understanding across multiple subject groups and disciplines

    • Make connections between subject groups and disciplines

    • Combine knowledge, understanding and skills to create products or solutions

    • Transfer current knowledge to learning of new technologies

    • Change the context of an inquiry to gain different perspectives

Important Reminder

Remember to support your explanations with detailed examples and evidence to fully show your understanding of how the ATL skills applied to the learning and the product.