Using the Honey and Mumford questionnaire and my skills assessment sheet I have assessed my learning style and used Kolb’s learning styles and experiential learning model to identify my learning strengths and weaknesses, reflect on how that affects my academic development and formulate points of action to improve on my skills. This allowed me to identify ‘weaknesses’ in my study skills and formulate an action plan to remedy them and improve my skills. I have included links to the questionnaires in my Blogroll.
My questionnaire shows that I am primarily a reflector, ‘A reflector Prefers to learn from activities that allow them to watch, think, and review (time to think things over) what has happened, likes to use journals and brainstorming. Lectures are helpful if they provide expert explanations and analysis.’ (Honey, P. & Mumford, A. (2000). The learning styles helper’s guide) I think that this is one of my strengths and I know from experience that I am a visual learner, I like to have printed copies of all slides and hand outs to review after classes and I feel that reflecting on topics covered in classes in my own time really helps me to fit ideas together and find relevant information for assignments.
I also like to take comprehensive notes in class to refer to later, although I sometimes find that if I spend too long going in to depths in my note taking that I miss parts of class discussion or teaching, which can be considered a weakness. To prevent this from becoming a problem I have researched note taking methods and have decided to put the information that I have found into practice by using a main heading for each section with bullet points for the main topics and also utilise the hand out printing option which allows you to print note space at the side of each slide so that I can bullet point my main relevant points on there. I have begun to use this method in class and have found that I still have comprehensive notes but they are condensed into main points and complement the slides with relevant points for my assignments.
I feel that the possible problems with being a reflector are that you can get caught up in re reading, listening and thinking that you do not actually DO anything or run out of time to complete assignments. To ensure that this does not happen I have formulated ‘Action Plans’ for each assignment and given them a time scale so that I can use my reflection in my assignments in a timely fashion.
After being a reflector the questionnaire tells me that I am mostly an activist which means that I am the kind of person that ‘Prefers the challenges of new experiences, involvement with others, assimilation and role-playing. Likes anything new, problem solving, and small group discussions.’ (Honey, P. & Mumford, A. (2000). The learning styles helper’s guide) I feel that this is evident as I enjoy problem solving in small groups and I also feel through my action plans that I am becoming more able to initiate action earlier. I have already begun all my assignments using a template that I created. I have formulated an assignment plan and follow the steps to allow my assignment to become fuller with each class. I highlight information covered in class that is relevant to my assignments and do a little on each one every night filling in tasks as I feel that I gain the knowledge in class. I also use internet research and information from the books that I have bought to provide evidence for my opinions and answers. I feel that this ensures that I am not just note taking and reflecting and then coming to complete my assignment late on with a book full of notes and no idea how to structure it. I think that by becoming more of an activist to equal my reflective side that I will achieve a good balance of study skills and be able to use my reflective skills more effectively to complete my assignments and produce better work.
The Theorist and Pragmatist
I am equally a Theorist and Pragmatist which means that ‘Theorist – Prefer to think problems through in a step-by-step manner. Likes lectures, analogies, systems, case studies, models, and readings. Talking with experts is normally not helpful.’ and ‘Pragmatist – Prefers to apply new learnings to actual practice to see if they work. Likes laboratories, field work, and observations. Likes feedback, coaching, and obvious links between the task-on-hand and a problem.’ (Honey, P. & Mumford, A. (2000). The learning styles helper’s guide) I think that is a fair assessment as I like some points from each learning type. One of my weaknesses is an inability to deal with the abstract. I feel that I am able to absorb and understand ideas which are presented with a practical working example rather than an abstract idea or framework. I think that can be a weakness as sometimes ideas are presented in theory alone. I aim to resolve this by keeping record of anything that is theoretical and I have a problem fully understanding how it works or what it applied to and find a practical example to expand my understanding on the subject by asking the tutor and using the learning resources to research relevant topics and create a more complete understanding of a problem area.