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Recently, I have read a book on ICT subject. It describes how quickly this modern technology evolved and how it is becoming absolute part of our lives. ICT is all around us and we use it every day, it helps us to be efficient and become effective. ICT - "information" it's processed data which can be described as aid to decision making. It is whatever is capable of causing a human mind to change its opinion. "Communication" refers to the transfer or exchange of information from person to person. "Technology" uses of scientific knowledge to invest tools that assist human beings their efforts to overcome environmental hazards and impediments to comfort. ICT heavily utilized in the storage, processing and dissemination of information. It has made the organization of information very efficient, the delivery of basic information services more effective and the dissemination of information to users easier. [i]
Because my course is distant learning study; internet is one that makes it all happen. These days, internet helps us to reach any location in the world from almost everywhere. It helps us to communicate faster and therefore we are able to be more effective. Communication through internet also helps us to be more flexible as nowadays you do not even need to have a PC with you to get connected to internet. With new improvements in the mobile industry, we can access internet right from our phones. Communication has never been that easy and that variable. But I do not see communication using the phone as effective if we were to have a long discussion. Other forms of communication that I could take advantage of while communicating with my tutor could be: online chat, sms, video calls. Emailing and online communication are not as powerful form of communication as verbal one.
At work the PC as part of ICT, is the centre of all the tasks. From conducting daily labour plan to preparing daily briefings and planning ahead by preparing weekly labour plans and weekly capacities, we also use it to record the hours worked, the hours used against the volume completed. And it is also used as most effective way to communicate with colleagues in different departments, on the different shift patterns or based in different distribution centres.
Actual studying does not involve only reading study materials and working out assignments. It also requires conducting self-assessments which are good way of confirming knowledge just obtained. It also requires conducting research which enables us to gather even more information on the subject. Also actual writing of assignment requires paying attention to wording and the way we express our thoughts and what we have learnt. All these are positives on the way of gaining skills and good habits on the way to qualification and knowledge.
To maintain effective communication with my tutor during this course will be difficult, as we will be using emails and internet to do so. Our communication will be written one. Communication seems simple; much of what we try to communicate and what is communicated gets misunderstood. This can cause conflict and frustration. From tutor's perspective it is even harder as if his message gets misunderstood by student that could cause loss of motivation for student. Because communication has also emotions behind it; in order to achieve effective communication we need to try and understand those emotions. Effective communication combines a set of skills including nonverbal communication - body language, tone of voice, eye contact, facial expressions and attentive listening. That all is lost in written communication so the major point in communication with my tutor will be wording. We need to ensure we word messages correctly in order to maintain effective communication.
My personal SWOT analysis
Will power Lack of time
Ambitions Lack of knowledge to complete
Aim to complete this course successfully assignments
Determination Fear of failure
Ability to back up my learning by real English as second language can
life experience cause problems with working
out assignments where it is very
important to make point in written
Use knowledge I gain from course at work Tutor might not see sufficient potential in
and vice versa me and sufficient knowledge in my
Working already in management role gives assignment to pass my work
my experience I can use for my studies
and also what I learn I can implement
straight away in real life experience.
My personal SWOT analysis will help me to stay motivated and also shows the factors I have to avoid to in order not to fail my course. During my course I can review my SWOT analysis and see for any changes that might have happened. I do not think that SWOT will be main resource for motivation; I believe that is not purpose of SWOT analysis. It is good to carry out SWOT analysis, to see what we are good at what we need to improve in, what opportunities could be lying in front of us and what threats to watch out for but regarding the motivation it is not the tool to include. I myself have enough motivation to go through management studies however there should be sufficient guidance from tutor. SWOT analysis could be however use as tool for improvement looking at weaknesses and threats I could work out development action plan for myself to maximise my opportunities to successfully complete my studies, achieve qualification which I desire and become even more successful in managerial role. The development action plan on my weaknesses would include improvement of time management, detailed plan of actions for each day, let's say week by weak would give me an idea where I am investing my time and would also give me an overview of possible time savings I could make to gain more time for studies, lack of knowledge could be improved by reading more books on management subject, or prolonging time I spend reading each day, online research, reading magazines on management subjects, or attending management and leadership workshops, or approaching one of experience managers and asking them to mentor me. Above actions would help me to eliminate fear of failure. The last weakness could be eliminated in time by reading books and magazines my English will naturally improve. Looking at my SWOT analysis helps me to ensure I will not give in to my weaknesses - first one lack of time - I will always ensure I have enough time to study my course materials, enough time to conduct research for my assignment and enough time to complete my assignment. I have also prepared study calendar where I have 16 units spread across whole year to give me guidance on when I need to complete each unit in order to be able to successfully complete my course. Lack of knowledge is not negative weakness because while studying learning materials or conducting research I will be able to gain new knowledge and improve with every unit. Fear of failure is natural and it will take passing on first assignment in order to go away. This course is fairly expensive and I am building my future on the fact that I will be able to complete it by August next year. The only way I can fight fear of failure is to put extra effort into studying and assignments and don't give up regarding 'failed' mark again.
Reflective writing requires of us to look back at something what has happened or it is thinking and writing about an idea. It requires of us to analyse idea or event and think in depth about it from different perspectives. It also requires of us to think carefully about what event or idea means to us and what we can learn from it. I use reflective writing even for work. I am lucky enough to already have management role which gives me enough experience to back up my learning during course I do. Reflective writing helps me break areas down and look at the things from many different perspectives. Usually during reflective writing on some problem I might have, solution appears after a few lines. Reflective writing on any problem helps me to concentrate mind on that particular problem and if I guide my mind towards solution it usually comes up with suggestions. How I do it: I write down problem/ or an idea at the top of the blank sheet of paper - that gives an order to my mind about what to concentrate on and automatically mind starts to work to search for solution - and then I start writing every single idea that comes to my mind. During reflective writing I also ask myself questions: what am I pleased with? What could I do better next time? What do I need to improve in?
E-Portfolio - can be used as a type of learning record that provides actual evidence of achievement. From my point of view, I think it is also useful way of organizing data/ information; for example: as part of this course I have been asked to organize my studies into following format:
Main folder: JS STUDIES (that is the date I am required to organize). This folder includes following subfolders: Coursework - where I work out my assignments; it contains word documents from unit 1 to unit 16. Subfolder: Reflective notes - tutor's comments on my assignment where I can also include reflective writing either during assignments or after it has been marked. Subfolder: Research - contains documents with research I have conducted for assignment. I would also like to add subfolder Self-assessment - which can include all self-assessments I work out during studying course materials.
MY STUDY EPORTFOLIO
Self-assessment - while conducting self-assessment I am able to find out where I have gabs and in what I need to improve. Self-assessment is the way to continuous improvement. It is great way of practice of what I just read about. Every now and then when we read about something we might be under impression that we understand it and it will be easy to use in a real life situation but when it gets to that, we are not sure where to begin. That is the reason why I always work out every single self-assessment it not only helps to practice information I have just gained but it also helps to memorize it better. Self-assessment is also making me to think about information I have learned and leads to ways I could use it and benefit from it.
So far I have successfully completed two courses on management at Oxford distance learning - both were at level 3: Level 3 in Management and Level 3 in Management development. The knowledge I have gained and study materials I have I will be using during my studies for reference. Both courses relate to Management so they both will be my main information source for my studies. Subjects that might be helpful to me are: role of manager; manager as a coach; manager's role in development and training; motivation in the workplace; management styles and leadership styles; effective communication; performance management; managing people, project, diversity and change.
I will be also using my books as valuable resources during my studies: The rules of management by Richard Templar; The management book by Richard Newton; How to manage by Jo Owen; How to lead by Jo Owen; Brilliant leader and Brilliant team by Simon Cooper; Communicate to win by Richard Denny; Leading at higher level by Ken Blanchard; Managing by Henry Mitzberg; Management skills by Jossey-Bass Reader.
Above mentioned books are going to be valuable resource of information for my studies as they all are written on Management subject and they offer research and opinions of various authors.
I have also conducted online search quoting "management". Search gave me various links where I could get valuable information. Starting with Wikipedia - online encyclopaedia, where I will be able to research any subject related to management and more. Search also brought me to CMI - Chartered Management institute - it is for professional managers - site offers News in today's management, practical support and advice, Management training and qualifications, research and policy and events which CMI is planning. Through this site I am able to access CMI library which contains research they have conducted on various management subjects. I have also found web site Management today MT which is actually magazine site. It contains news in management, current issues managers could face, How to, Big ideas, book reviews, MT leadership, corporate responsibilities. That gives me a good view and understanding about what is new in management world and I am able to subscribe to MT monthly magazine which can be my resource of information as well. I have also found PM People management website. Even though this site is more related to Human resources and HR professionals - any good manager or student of management should have a good knowledge of employment law, HR practice, learning and training development, Performance management - that all can be found on this website therefore I am adding this site as potentially valuable place of research for my studies.
I work for DHL; I have been working for them for almost five years now. It is the company that invests into people heavily. I have searched for opportunities to study Management with DHL and I have found out that I could study Management and many management related subjects through web page: www.mylearningworld.net. It is page full of no fee courses offered by DHL. The only criteria to get access are to be employee of DHL. I have filled in online application form and added HR department's email address from mu workplace. Now I need to wait for HR to confirm that I am DHL employee. Once they do so, I will be able to select any course and start my learning. Available courses are: Operations; Customer service; First choice; IT certification; IT desktop applications; Language training; Leadership and development; Time management; Project management; Building and leading teams; Building and managing partnership; Business acumen; Commitment to excel; Constructive challenge; Cross border thinking; Customer orientation; Shaping direction.
Reflecting on research I have just conducted I feel confident that all the above websites will provide me with valuable information for my studies in management. Internet is good resource but as I mentioned above I will also be using books, previous courses 'materials and DHL's my learning world site during my research.