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3.2.6 Achieving your goals

Now that you have established what you intend to do and identified specific targets to achieve them, think about how you can meet your targets, taking into account what you are trying to do and looking carefully at the most effective way to do it. This might be by attending a training course or skills workshop, prioritising your time differently, taking an active part in e-tutorials, or checking out resources and giving yourself time to practise new ways of working.

Take into account th
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3.2.5 Plan how these targets will be met

You may be anxious to get on with achieving your targets but think first before you plunge in. In setting targets, think about how they will be achieved by identifying action points and deadlines, prioritising tasks and identifying resources and support from others. Include opportunities to discuss ideas/work with others and build in time to receive feedback and reflect on it. Planning how to achieve your targets involves all of the functions that take place before you start on the actual tas
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3.2.4 Set realistic targets

You are now in a good position to set yourself targets – the steps towards achieving your goals. As you begin to plan in more detail, think in terms of around 3 months to achieve particular targets, although the time period for some may be shorter/longer. This may depend on other commitments, priorities, and so on. Your targets need to be clear so that you can know when you have achieved them. A good way of helping you to formulate clear targets is to use the acronym SMART – Specific, Mea
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3.2.3 Identify and research relevant sources of information

This is about identifying and tracking down the resources you need – books, reports, manuals, training courses and people. It involves finding out what is available to help you with the task at hand – in this case improving a particular skill. Skills resources may be included as part of your course or you may have manuals and online resources available at work.

People represent important sources of information and support, for example your tutor, manager, other students and colleag
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3.1 Introduction to improving own learning and performance

This key skill is about helping you understand how you learn; think about how you can improve your own learning and performance, and consider how you might generalise the principles and processes for future learning.

You saw in our discussion of ‘A framework for learning’, improving your learning and performance could be considered to be a ‘meta-skill’, that is the skill of learning how to learn. This section, then, is a little different from the other skills sections because im
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2.10 Summary

  • This section has introduced the key skills approach to learning and emphasised the need for a flexible framework which supports you in thinking about how you are learning as well as what you are learning.

  • A three-stage approach to key skills development underpins this unit. The stages involve developing a strategy for improving your skills and learning, monitoring your progress as your skills develop, and evaluating the effectiveness of you
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2.9 Putting it all together

One aim of completing a key skill is to pull ideas together, reflect on and evaluate the effectiveness of your work and identify those aspects that you can ‘take away with you’ for the next task.

The process of strategic planning, monitoring and reflection, and evaluation is one that you are encouraged to use throughout these materials. Activities prompt you to plan and monitor your work, think about what you have learned and how you have learned it, keep an ongoing record of how yo
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2.8 Making the framework your own

If there was a simple way to improve our own learning, we would all be geniuses by now. What this key skills approach tries to show is that learning is a complex process that draws on many skills and can be made more effective by becoming aware of what you are doing, how you are doing it and how well you are doing it. Once you are aware of what's going on, you can start to change things to suit your own learning style and the demands of the task or assignment you have to tackle.

The nex
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2.4.1 Keeping a Skills File

As you work on your skills development, you are likely to find that you'll need several skill files so that you can keep a helpful frequent record or log of your learning. In this unit such a record is called a Skills File. Building up a Skills File as you go along will help you identify the skills you are using and how you are applying them to different tasks. You can also include your own reflective comments on how you think your work is progressing. The activities associated with each key
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2.4 Using the framework

The three-stage framework focuses on the processes of learning, and is a general approach that you can use in different ways. However, skills development also needs a context and should be linked into your course or work activities. A useful starting point is to use your course or project to provide a timeframe for your skills development work.

If you are following a formal course of study, the course will have been designed to develop your knowledge and understanding of a subject area,
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2.3.3 Evaluating your strategy and presenting outcomes

This stage is about evaluating your strategy – what you've achieved and judging how well you achieved it-and presenting your work. An evaluation requires you to assess your overall strategy and work in terms of its strengths and weaknesses. Evaluating your strategy, however, is not simply describing what you have done, listing your successes, or even blaming yourself or others for things that didn't go according to plan.

Evaluation is about considering how successful were the methods
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2.3.2 Monitoring progress

As the focus moves from preparation to action it is important to keep a check on what you are doing and how well you are doing it. Use your plan to help you review your progress, noting your successes and achievements as well as whether you met your deadlines and targets. Often, learning involves bringing together different activities, ways of studying and approaches to the subject. Consciously draw these different strands together, and don't be afraid to make changes where necessary to help
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2.3.1 Developing a strategy

A common feature of how effective people work is that they take time to prepare well. They know which aspects they are competent to do and those that they need to work on, plan carefully and identify possible sources of information and support. In other words they develop a strategy.

A strategy is a plan for taking you towards and achieving a goal. The purpose of planning is to anticipate opportunities to learn that will improve your performance and develop your capabilities. A strategy
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2.3 The key skills framework

In this unit each key skill section uses a common three-stage framework to help you develop your skills. The stages of this framework are:

  • developing a strategy for how you are going to tackle the key skill;

  • monitoring your progress as you develop your skills;

  • evaluating the strategy you have used and presenting outcomes of your work.

But working on your skills and techniques i
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2.1 A framework for learning

This section introduces the key skills approach to learning, outlining a three-stage framework to support the development of your skills, and relating this framework to learning tasks you are likely to come across.

All of us use key skills as part of our study and work. Working with others in teams, sharing ideas, solving problems, researching information and writing essays and reports are all activities using key skills. Developing our key skills is not about remembering facts – but
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1.5 Getting started

After you have worked through Sections 1 and 2, the place to start is the key skill of improving your own learning and performance.

As you began to read through these materials, you were probably not surprised to see that we had included as key skills such things as communication, numeracy and information technology. These are certainly essential operational tools for students – indeed, many would say that they are also essential tools for most occupations.

However, including
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1.4 Using this unit

There is no single way to use this unit and no single way to develop your key skills. The unit is designed so that you can use it flexibly, moving around the sections to suit yourself. You can also choose when to use the unit, but remember that skills development does not happen in isolation – it requires ‘content’. Therefore, you will find it helpful to use the unit alongside a course or a specific project so that it provides you with opportunities to develop, practise and get feedbac
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1.1.1 When do we use key skills?

Key skills underpin almost everything we do. In the following table, there are some examples of when we use key skills as part of our studies or in other areas of our lives. As you read through the list, think about how confident you are in each of the key skills.

Click on 'View document' below for a printable version of Table 1 that you can fill in.

Introduction

This unit focuses on higher level skills. Skills development is complementary to other learning – it cannot be done in isolation. The higher level skills in this material aim to raise your awareness of the processes of learning and development – other subject-based material must supply the context and motivation for this. Key skills underpin the ability to carry out successfully, and improve on, a wide range of tasks in higher education, employment and wherever there is a continua
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9 Notes to help you complete your portfolio

To complete your assessment portfolio you must include a contents page indicating how your reflective commentary in Part A and your evidence in Part B are related. An example of a suitable format for the contents page is shown in Figure 1 (first introduced in Section 4).

Figure 1 (PDF, 1 page, 0.1MB)

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