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3.8.3 Identify ways of further improving your own learning and performance

Remember that improving your own learning and performance is not something that you can do once and then forget about it. It is a process that needs to become an integral part of your normal approach to work and study throughout your career in higher education and in the world of work. Developing and using the skill of improving your own learning and performance can enhance all other learning. As you worked through this key skill, what is it that you have learned? What can you take away with
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3.8.2 Assess the effectiveness of your strategy

If you were asked to assess how effective your planning, researching, monitoring and evaluating have been in improving your learning and performance, what would be your assessment? You may comment on factors that impacted on your learning, for example the feedback you received from your tutor or manager, a workshop you attended, or discussions with other students or colleagues. Other factors might be your improved awareness of what you are trying to achieve or having a structured approach to
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3.8.1 Select and bring together effective ways to present outcomes

The most appropriate method to present your work may depend on what you are required to do either for your course, or for a work-related project. For example you could be submitting a written assignment, making a presentation to work colleagues, or putting together a collection of designs.

You also need to look back at your notes and comments and take time to consider what you have learned while completing this key skill. Bring together what you have learned into a synthesis. A synthesi
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3.8 Evaluating strategy and presenting outcomes

By now you will have found out about and sampled different resources for learning and used different ways to learn. But the structured approach used in this section is one of the main resources for developing and improving your other key skills.

So how do you know if you have learned? How do you know if you have improved? How do you know if you are meeting the standard for improving your own learning and performance expected of someone doing a course in higher education or using higher
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3.6.1 Seek and actively use feedback to achieve your targets

Feedback can be an important aspect of improving your performance, but it can also have a negative effect if you take it too personally or if the giver is not skilled in offering feedback in a positive and constructive way. Feedback should not just be a matter of pointing out what you have done wrong; it should help confirm what you are doing well and give you pointers as to how you might improve in other areas. One important thing to remember when dealing with feedback is that the giver is c
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3.4.2 Using different ways and approaches to learn

Always aim to select the way of learning that fits with what you intend to learn. If your goal is to improve your presentation skills, you need to prepare and practise presenting your work. If you need to relate theory to practise in your job, you need to spend time understanding how theory can relate to practice, perhaps by reviewing and discussing case studies. This may seem obvious but people often make wrong choices out of habit. There is a natural tendency to use ways we feel most famili
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3.4.1 Manage your time effectively

The aim here is to develop good work habits and time-management practices. These are often a matter of developing the right attitudes towards your work and towards your time.

Here are 10 tips to help you look at your time management:

  1. establish goals and targets;

  2. work smarter, not harder; value your time;

  3. avoid attempting too much;

  4. carefully schedule activities, allowing time for emergencies, min
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3.4 Monitoring progress

Monitoring progress is about keeping track of what you are doing and how well you are doing it as you work towards your targets. It is about being able to make an assessment about yourself and being ‘self aware’ about your own capabilities, how you learn best, things that have helped you and so on. One problem in becoming more aware of yourself and making a self-assessment is that you may not know enough terms to describe yourself. Think of the first time you were asked to describe a pain
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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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3.2.1Review your current capabilities, including your preferred learning style

Before you begin to plan in detail what you hope to achieve, it is useful to look at relevant examples of previous work or study as well as the feedback you received from different people. This review should help you to confirm those areas you need and/or want to work on. Feedback from others may also point out areas you need to work on which are different from the ones you expected. These areas might relate to specific skills, such as interrogating a database, or they might be more general,
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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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