A Study asking the question: How to Learn

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Learning is a continuous process and with time we keep on taking things from our environment and keep storing and modifying our behavior and thoughts. Here after coming to Birmingham College, United Kingdom I have had some formal and some informal learning.

Formal learning was classroom studies from different professors of various IBS campuses and faculty from Birmingham College as well as some guest lecturers too. The mix of different teaching styles and from people belonging to different cultural backgrounds was in itself a learning experience apart from the course study. We even went for many industrial visits. For me it was a first time experience of visiting an industry and that too of such a large set up. Informal learning has been by communicating and interacting with the 62 students, most of whom I didn't know before coming here. Even by many group activities that were organized in the soft skills classes helped break the ice and increased interaction between the students.

The lectures of soft skills even had a lectures on Motivation in which we were taught about many theories like Maslow need hierarchy, Frederick Herzberg's motivation-hygiene theory and XY theory. From all the theories I could relate to the Frederick Herzberg's theory which talks about satisfiers and dissatisfies. Removal of certain factors can lead to dissatisfaction in the work but whereas their presence don't create motivation. Like things like removal of work conditions and personal relationship, which include missing family back home in my case led to dissatisfaction.

In the class we took a questionnaire by which I learnt that out of Visual, Auditory and Hap tic type , I am a visual learner. The qualities of a visual learner are that they learn by reading information or seeing pictures or diagrams. Looking at your teachers when they speak can help me understand. This feedback from the class has helped me concentrate in class better as earlier I used to see my text books and write more than looking at the teacher in the class.

There was even a Honey and Mumford Learning style questionnaire which was designed to find out our preferred cognitive learning styles.

To improve upon our learning which is very much required in the competitive world of corporate as there is much to learn, we were taught the C.R.E.A.M strategy for learning. Its stands for creative, reflective, effective, active and motivated. Developing all these things characteristics inside us will help us cope better with learning. In module base system which is different from Indian style of learning that I have been trained in, this strategy helped me coping with style. It was good learning about a subject as a whole and giving full focus on it.

Everyone has a personality and it's a combination of many personality traits. By the way we speak and interact with people around us reflects our personality and how people perceive us. So knowing about our own personality strengths and weakness in my various interactions throughout life has given me an insight into it.

As a management student we have to work with different kinds of groups in class and it's training for us for the corporate world where we need to handle diversity. While interacting within groups there can be conflicts, which can be of different types like poor performance, dominating person and so on. Conflicts can have a positive as well as a negative effect. Negative effects on me I realized is getting stressed out, underperforming, but positive effect while I'm facing a conflict generating ideas and solutions and improving my adjusting skills. There are times when I am stuck between "fight Or fleet", but I try to get the better of me and fight.

While working in group's conflicts leads to brainstorming and hence better solutions. Here while working in group presentations and group work that we undertook there were lots of conflicts of ideas among the members. There were many trips too that we undertook here, there too there were conflicts to where we should visit and the amount of money we should spend. But all that was handled and made me learn better.

Talking about working in groups I would like to mention Belbins team roles. According to this theory people take up different roles while working within a group. I have completed my graduation in animation and multimedia and have worked as an animator for 6 months. In my college days as well as in work I learnt that different kind of roles is taken by people to complete the group work effectively. The model of group dynamics by Bruce Tuckamn is followed in every kind of group formation.

Now if there are roles there are leadership positions in them. In all the roles that I have played as a leader I have been a Participative type of leader. We should frequently ask our subordinates as well as our peers "What do you think?" to involve them and increase their commitment to the group work. This way the sense of belongingness and dedication towards the work they are dedicated is increased. This participative learning has been used and implemented in class by marks for class participation, which I saw here in UK only. It's an effective style as it has increased my dedication and interest towards my class studies.

A good and effective communication is an essential part of effective leadership. We can communicate through verbal and non verbal means. Both types are essential. After coming to UK I realized that in different cultures different actions and different words mean different things. In our class by Greg in a fun way I learnt about many gestures which differ along different cultures gives me awareness about learning about different cultures for effective communication.

Personal values to humans are very essential and they are guided by them in deciding about what they value more in life. Things like friendship, career, money, social life are given importance. Students who have come for the scholarship program they gave importance to career. In my life a balance of personal and professional life is important.

Providing feedback also has styles I learnt in soft skills classes. As a future manager I need to provide feedback that motivates the employees and get the maximum output from them.

Conclusion

In class we took many self evaluation tests like creative thinking styles, feedback style, personal values, and personality types. All these and the whole self assessment style of learning were very useful in giving me a concrete knowledge of myself and have improved my learning to good extent. The whole experience in itself was learning for me. With the help of professor's R. Salguero, Greg and Joe Andrews I was able to learn a lot. Thanks to them it was great having them as my guide in visit to United Kingdom.

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