P1/M1/D1- Factors that impact upon my learning and development.
Unit 6: Personal and Professional Development
P1/M1/D1- Factors that impact upon my learning and development.
P1: Learning can be defined as "The acquisition of knowledge or skills through experience, practice, or study, or by being taught." (wordnetweb.princeton.edu/perl/webwn, accessed March 23rd 2012) You start learning from birth and the learning process continues through formal schooling and even right through to adulthood There are however many things that can influence an individual's personal learning process, these can include the following:
- Different learning styles
- Access to resources
- Learning environment
There are two main theories that are used when explaining the way an individual learns. These two theories are ‘Honey and Mumford’s learning styles theory (1985)’ and ‘Kolb’s experiential learning cycle (1984)’. Honey and Mumford’s theory states that all individuals have a specific learning style adapted to their nature, they state everyone is either an activist, reflector, theorist or a pragmatist. An activist can be defined as an individual who enjoys getting involved, likes new ideas and likes to dominate. There are both preferred and less favourable learning situations for this type of learner, less favourable situations such as working to the rules would be a factor that would impact negatively on this type of individual's learning style. It is a factor that could affect how well an individual is able to concentrate in that type of learning environment. Reflectors are known to have characteristics such as preferring to observe from the edge of the group and letting others contribute before they do, they are known to be more observers than participators. A factor that could affect their type of learning would be having to take a lead of other people or a group or feeling rushed or pressured by deadlines. These types of situations are unnerving for ‘reflectors’ and is more difficult for them to learn efficiently in those types of surroundings which in turn would affect their learning process. Theorists are known for thinking very logically, being exact and precise and everything they do must be in a exact order. Problems that would occur for them include working with a lack of structure or purpose this would be difficult and would cause interruptions in their learning because of their inability to learn without proper order and purpose. The last learning style in Honey and Mumford’s theory are the pragmatists, these are the individuals that enjoy experimenting new ideas and techniques and advance with the feedback and help from others. Their weakness would be work that is all theory based, and doesn’t include practical work where the theory is put into place. Pragmatists learn effectively by putting what they have learnt into practice. (Class notes, 27th April 2012)
The other theory that is used to explain how individuals learn is Kolb’s experiential learning cycle. This theory suggests that there are four stages of learning. All individuals are different and may enter the cycle at a different stage, and though there is no correct stage to begin at, for the best possible outcome the cycle should go as follows; beginning with concrete experience followed by reflective observation, abstract conceptualization, which is lastly followed by active experimentation before the cycles begins once again. These transactions can be better shown through the diagram below.
The diagram above shows Kolb’s cycle of experiential learning in practice. ( accessed 01 May 2012)
The first stage of Kolb’s cycle is ‘concrete experience’, this is where you have an experience of something, the doing phase where you carry out the actions required on a certain task. This is followed by the ‘reflective observation’ stage where you review the task you have just carried out, including what you did and how you think it went. The next stage ‘abstract conceptualisation’ this is can be further explained as sensemaking, it is the stage where you conclude the task you have just gone through. This means, using all the information you have now obtained and acquired, you make sense of the experiment by putting it into some form of order as to make it easily understandable. The last stage is known as ‘active experimentation’, this is the stage where you plan out and coordinate what you will do next time you do the same experiment as a means of getting better and/or more accurate results. Once this stage is completed you begin the cycle again from stage one, carrying out the action. This type of theory can affect the learning process of some, because not all individuals will enter the cycle at the same preferred stage (concrete experience) and will therefore have a different learning cycle and technique which could affect the outcome in many ways. (C. Aldworth. ‘BTEC Health and social care, Book 1’)
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Time is also another factor that has a big affect and influence on learning processes of individuals. There are some individuals that do not have enough or as much free time that is needed to commit to educational studies, as others. This can affect how well they do in terms of their learning and how much they can progress with the time they do have available. Commitment is required to be able to fully and efficiently complete all tasks, and if an individual has other commitments and priorities they may not be able to complete everything they do to the best of their ability. This would negatively affect their learning process. This can also however work in vise versa, an individual that has committed to their studies and education, by spending an appropriate amount of time on work on a daily basis, and categorizing their priorities and time wisely.
Another issue that would influence learning processes is ‘access to resources’. There are sometimes problems that are faced when in the process of learning that would affect you negatively, these include not being able to have the access to the resources you need to complete your work to the best of your ability. Causes for this can include financial difficulties, at many times people are simply unable to afford different types and sources of information, such as textbooks, books, dvds. However there are reasons such as not having access to places such as public library which can depend on where you come from as there may be areas in the country that do not have complete public services, such as a library for the public to use. This would be a negative factor as it would disadvantage an individual from not having all the available resources as everybody else. Financial difficulties could also prevent individuals access to the unlimited sources that can be found on the internet.
An individual’s learning environment can affect how a person approaches their education and how effective their learning is. For example if an individual was to grow up in an area of financial difficulties and a high crime rate, they may grow up to follow suit on what they have seen as to be the norm and what they may think is acceptable society may however regard as unacceptable. Negative influences from their environment can then lead an individual to change their priorities, and not keep their education and learning as an important aspect. However that is a very extreme influence your surroundings and environment can have on your learning, other more likely and subtle influences include individuals having to prioritise their time due to other factors caused by their environment such as not having a suitable place to work.
Motivation is an important factor that can influence your learning process, it is important to have a good amount of motivation to succeed and complete your education and learning, effects that can occur due to lack of motivation in an individual include failing to complete work to best of their standard and ability, and in worse situations failure to learn and understand the knowledge and information required to obtain a career in the future. Motivation is an important aspect of learning, it helps individuals complete and carry out tasks which will help their learning and understanding. In successful situations motivation can also influence individuals by allowing them to achieve their very best at what they’re studying and thrive to do more in the future once they complete their learning and use the knowledge and information they have acquired to help others and provide their services to do good.
All individuals have many responsibilities to handle at one time, it is important to make time for your learning, in order to not let other responsibilities influence your learning. However there are some responsibilities which may prevent an individual from being able to put their learning as a first priority. Somebody who is learning, may be unable to put their studies first because of other issues, for example such as having dependants replying on you financially or emotionally would prioritise your time to them first and your learning second, this would affect your learning as you could fall behind or be unable to complete and keep up with the workload as well as handle your other responsibilities.
M1: The factors mentioned above can relate to many individuals and affect their personal learning progress. These factors have also had an impact on my learning process in many ways both positively and negatively.
After researching the learning theories in more detail, I was able to come to the conclusion in terms of ‘Honey and Mumford’s learning styles theory’ I would label myself as an activist. This means that my strengths include being open-minded, happy to be exposed to new situations and unlikely to resist change. These characteristics would influence my learning process positively. I would be able to easily adapt to new situations and be constantly willing to experiment and try new things. However there are also weaknesses that come along with being an activist, including the inability to think of a plan of action and to rush into immediate obvious action, also being impatient and not being able to go through an implementation process without getting easily bored. This would affect me negatively as in the Health and Social Care course I am doing it is important to make good decisions based on evidence and back up from a reliable source before carrying out any type of action. (Class notes, 28th April 2012)
Time is a factor that would affect me personally because I enjoy to keep myself busy, due to this I currently hold 2 part time jobs, where I work before and after college during my free time. For this reason it is difficult for me to sometimes find enough time to complete all college work on time and to my highest standard possible, and this leads to me cutting down on the hours of sleep i get each night, by completing work into the early hours of the morning. This would then have a roll on effect as the next day I would be excessively tired after not receiving the appropriate hours of sleep, which would therefore lower my level of concentration which would also effect my learning process. However regardless of having a busy schedule, I would consider myself to have excellent time management skills as I feel being able to balance college and 2 part time jobs has allowed me to become more aware of the free time I have and have learnt to dedicate all other free time when I am not at college or at work, to study and keep up with my workload at home, so that I do not fall behind with my assignments. This has helped me develop and refine my time management skills over the past 8 months as well as being able to positively influence my my personal learning process.
I believe that thanks to the area and time period I live in, I have a higher and more broader range of resources to access to aid and guide me with my learning. This helps me positively as I am able to learn and teach myself in more ways, besides the information I receive from my teachers at college. Having access to different types of places and a wide range of support services such as public libraries, mentoring and coaching, working in pairs and/or groups to enable us to share and receive different information you may not have necessarily already known, specialist journals for more accurate and specific data and information, leaflets and brochures, the internet, newspapers etc. This access to a wider range of secondary sources allows me to broaden my learning process as I am able to use more correct, accurate and precise information for my assignments which would help me complete my work to a higher standard.
My learning environments include, the space provided at college that I can use to work in, public libraries and my home environment. The college environment is best suited for some people because it is specifically designed to help students focus and complete work. My home environment consists of my 5 other family members, three younger siblings aged between six and fourteen and my parents, however regardless of the many interruptions and constant loud environment I personally feel I work better at home than at the working space provided by the college or public libraries. Though my preference is to work at home over working at college, it is however still very difficult to work at home with being distracted or disrupted because of the many disadvantages that come with having younger siblings that all require your attention being the eldest sibling. For this reason, my learning environment affects me both positively and negatively. Many times aiding and allowing me to work at a better pace, on the other hand it also prevents me from working continuously and getting enough work done in one go.
I have many future career aspirations and have what I would like to do education wise after completing college all planned out. I think this helps me in terms of my learning process and influences it positively. I know where I would like to be in 5 years time, upon having completed college and university I would hopefully like to be working and providing my services for the NHS, in a hospital serving children. Thanks to my career aspirations I am able to focus myself and see clearly what it is I need to do to achieve the goals I have set myself. This includes focusing myself and not letting anything come in the way of my learning process and making my education my first and main priority so that I am able to successfully complete my two years at college and continue my education by attending and completing university.
As the eldest child of a family, and with parents who are first generation immigrants my family relies on me a lot to help them out. My parents do not have the best understanding of the English language, so in all areas of running a household where English would be required I would step in and aid my parents. Also because both my parents work busy hours, it is many times my job to babysit, look after, and drive my younger siblings to and from school. Lastly because my family is classed as working class, my two part time jobs help contribute to the family income, I have a passion for earning and saving up my own money so that I am able to pay and afford to go to university, help out with bills and basic payments and aid my parents in any way possible to help ease the amount of issues they may be facing themselves. The many responsibilities I carry on top on my education I think sometimes influence how much time and effort i give to my learning which can in turn influence my learning process.
When it comes to learning, I think I have a few clear qualities and skills including being able to write clear reports; being able to carry out an experiment and write out afterwards what it was I did, what my findings were and what I would do next time to ensure that my results are better and/or more accurate. Since the beginning of my course, my referencing skills have developed more and I now have more knowledge on how to correctly reference all the information and sources I use in my assignments. Due to my education I have been able to adapt my previous knowledge of computers and technology and enhance and refine this to a higher a level, this now reflects in the work I produce in which I try to make use of all the skills in computer technology to produce work that is to the highest standard possible for me.
D1: Over the past year I have further development and enhanced many skills which in turn has helped my personal learning. This I believe would benefit and help myself and other people such as clients at work, work colleagues, my peers, and family and friends. Skills such as effectively using and making use of I.T access could help and aid many different types of people. One of my part time job is the role of receptionist at a hairdressers called Toni & Guy. My computer skills could help out a fellow colleague, on how to understand and use the store’s electronic appointment booking system so that they are able to do the job of booking and checking appointments more effectively and easily without the need of anyone else’s help. Sharing my computer skills and knowledge could also benefit my peers so that they too are able to produce assignments and work to a higher standard that they are happy with. Also so that they are able to complete all tasks given to them and not confused on what to do because it is sometimes the case that not all assignments are basic word document required essays, and sometimes require more skill and knowledge of computers and computer systems.
Motivation is something that is very important to me and I feel it is necessary to help any individual, whether it be a work colleague, friend or peer who may have a lack of motivation with regards to their personal learning. I believe this would benefit other individuals to help them decide what it is they want to achieve, and what is required of them in order to get there. For example helping my peers who may find it difficult finding the motivation to complete all work on time and to a high standard would be helpful for both myself and the person receiving the help, as I would be exercising my skills to enhance and improve them even more, whilst also helping out somebody who needs it, and the receiving individual would benefit if likewise if my development has helped them also develop and influence their personal learning.
My developement in terms of work, work experience and part time jobs, I would be able to use to help others who may need the advice on how try and what to do if they are looking to get experience in a certain business sector. This can apply to and benefit all types of people from friends, family, colleagues who may be looking to change jobs and peers who may also be looking for some part type work whilst they study. As I am already currently working I would be able to advise others that are the same age as me, on what they should try and do to get a higher chance of getting employed.