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1.2 What do we mean by learning how to learn?

Activity 1

This activity will help you to explore what we mean by learning how to learn.

Think back to an example of study you have done in the past, or any fairly structured learning opportunity you remember. Focus on a particular ac
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4.4 Questioning what you read

Another way to keep your mind active while you read is to ask yourself questions about what you are reading.


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Learning outcomes

After studying this unit you should be able to:

  • ask questions to make yourself think about what you read;

  • think about what the key concepts and issues are;

  • detach yourself from disagreements with the author's views.


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8 Analysis, argument and critical thinking

In this section, we are going to look in detail at analysis and argument. Analytical thinking is a particular type of higher order thinking central to much academic activity. It is concerned with examining 'methodically and in detail the constitution or structure of something' (Oxford English Dictionary). This includes looking at variables, factors, and relationships between things, as well as examining ideas and problems, and detecting and analysing arguments. Many essay questions require ar
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5.5 Reflecting on what I have done differently — what was the effect?

We hope that the activities in this section have helped you to bring to mind what you have learned. But we also want you to think about whether you have done anything differently from what you might have tried before starting the unit. In other words, we want you to ask yourself whether the unit has given you the confidence, or some ideas that have encouraged you, to take a bit of a risk, or, as Section 4 puts it, to step outside your comfort zone.

Do not worry if you cannot say that yo
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4.5.3 Formal routes to learning

Here we are thinking both of educational institutions (schools, colleges and universities) and work-based learning, such as National Vocational Qualifications (which accredit learning on the job), apprenticeships, and secondments which allow for rehearsal of old skills in new areas, or the development of new skills to take back to the old setting.

Hand-in-hand with the emphasis on lifelong learning, there has been a growth in flexibility and in the idea of personalised learning. It is n
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4.5.2 Thinking about knowledge and skills

As you learned in Section 3, there are various routes to acquiring knowledge and skills including formal and informal learning opportunities, and individual and social routes to learning.

We now encourage you to think first about formal approaches to acquiring the knowledge and skills you might need and then about informal learning approaches.


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4.5.1 Thinking about resources

Modern-day life often means we have so many commitments that it is hard to find the time to do all the things that we would like to do. However, instead of listing ‘not having the time’ as one of your obstacles, an alternative decision might be to ‘make time’ by temporarily dropping another activity that you currently take part in, so that you can make room for the new one. It is a question of working out where your priorities lie; how motivated you are to achieve one goal rather than
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3.2.4 Johari window

This idea is being introduced at this point so that you can use it as you think about the impact of feedback.

The Johari window is named after its originators, Joseph Luft and Harrington Ingram (for some reason there is only ever one ‘r’ in ‘Johari’). It consists of four different areas which are shown in Figure 15 and looks rather like the separate panes of a window.

The open area covers what you know about yourself. You know about this aspect and are happy to shar
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1.1 Welcome

Learning to change is a unit for people who are interested in learning about making changes in their lives. We think that you will find the unit interesting and that it will give you ideas that are useful for bringing about personal change.

The aims of this section are to:

  1. provide you with a clear idea of what the unit is about and how it is structured
  2. help you understand the importance of the word ‘skills’
  3. start yo
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1.2.5 Coping when things go wrong

Personal computing is not a mature technology. It is changing so fast and becoming so complex that it never gets a chance to settle down and become really reliable. You need to learn ways of coping with this unreliability, to learn to laugh at the frustrations you will encounter and find ways of minimising the damage.

There are various ways of coping with computing problems:

  • Save your work often – every few minutes, not every few hours.


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10 Reflecting on tutor feedback

When you have taken the assignment as far as you can, you will benefit more from the feedback from your tutor than you will from further polishing.

  • If you have worked hard to become involved with your subject you will really appreciate having a captive audience. Someone with as much interest in the subject (and presumably greater knowledge) as you, will take time to read what you have written and to understand what you are trying to say.


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5.4 Identifying sources

So what material do you have available to you?

  • Your materials are likely to be your first sources of information.

  • Any guidance notes you may have been given will sometimes tell you exactly which sections you need to look at. But don't forget that your course materials encompass more than just these texts.

  • Make use of any handouts you've been given.

  • Your own notes of what you have been reading or watch
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8.6 Research skills

This kind of work teaches some very valuable skills:

  • how to set about an enquiry

  • how and where to find source material and information

  • how to make your own investigations

  • strategic planning

  • time management

  • cutting corners and being pragmatic

  • analysing and interpreting primary and secondary source material

  • forming your own conclusions<
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3.2 Carrying out an analysis

Here, then, is the two-verse poem we will focus on in the next few sections of the unit. As you see, I have left out the ends of the lines in the second verse. So it presents you with a kind of ‘puzzle’. (But I have included the punctuation, and added line numbers for ease of reference.)

  1. The grey sea and the long black land;

  2. And the yellow half-moon large and low;

  3. And the startled little waves that leap

  4. <
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9.7.3 Identify ways of further developing your skills in working with others

Use your assessment and reflective comments to suggest ways of improving your own performance in working with others. How do you intend to make these changes? Working in a group is a skill that you may need to go on developing throughout your course of study and in the workplace. All groups vary, and to enhance the performance of any group, as well as to help individual group members develop their skills, it is helpful to look at how the group has operated.

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9.3.3 Identify relevant sources of information

Exploring and identifying sources of information is about finding out what you don't know as well as using and adapting what you do know. Group projects and assignments frequently require you to carry out research and this will involve identifying specific resources you may need. For example, think about the materials and equipment that might be needed and whether the group needs to get specific expert advice and support and, if so, where you can obtain this.

It is also important to spe
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8.5 Monitoring progress

This stage is about keeping track of your progress. Are you tackling your problem-solving activities effectively? How do you know? Could you have done things differently, made use of different tools (such as software packages) or facilities, taken more advantage of tutorials, training sessions or local expertise, or recognised that such support would have helped you?

Monitoring your own performance and progress needs practice; try to stand back and look at what you are doing as if you w
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7.5.3 Monitor and critically reflect on your use of number skills

As you use number skills in your work, refer back to the outcomes you hope to achieve and the goals you have set yourself. Ask yourself questions such as:

  • am I on track to achieve my outcomes?

  • what difficulties in using numerical or mathematical techniques have I experienced and what have I done about them?

  • how have the choices and decisions I made impacted on the quality of my work?

  • do I need to make
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Interpret results and identify your main findings

In interpreting your results, think about the coverage of your searches and whether you have missed anything or left out important areas. You cannot find everything, but you should be confident that you have located sources recognised for their accuracy, authority and authenticity. How will you judge the quality and coverage of your material? Be aware that while your information may be accurate and reliable, it may not be unbiased. Look carefully at the sources of your information (ask yourse
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