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Learning is a process of acquiring knowledge, wisdom, development of skills and altering behavior and attitude. Learning starts at home, from the birth and ends with our life, a continuous process which helps to facilitate growth. According to Kolb (1984), "learning is the process whereby knowledge is created through the transformation of experience. Knowledge results from the combination of grasping experience and transforming it."
Learning is an unremitting and hence after completing my diploma, I always wanted to rejoin AKUSON for my higher studies i.e. for my Post RNBScN program. After, almost 4 years of my clinical experience, this program gave me a platform to accomplish my ambition. However there were some predisposing thoughts which made me apprehensive with some courses such as Health assessment, CHS, Teaching learning and reflective writing but as the semester went on, my thoughts changed. At the beginning of the semester, I found that we have different students from different background, countries, culture, different age and experiences. I found it beneficial as it is a great opportunity for me to exchange knowledge with them.
We also learnt about the critical thinking on a great deal. The orientation mainly taught us about critical thinking, reasoning, and rationalizing, this was continued throughout the semester. I never use critical thinking as much as I used it after entering into the program. Besides orientation I learnt this skill in English, teaching learning course, culture health and society and of course in life sciences. I realized that critical thinking changed my views towards life. It gave me a different perspective and helped me to clarify my goals and ambition in life. It made me realize that my goal does not end with higher studies.By the end of the semester my whole world turns up in why, what and how, from the CHS reflection to book review and analytical paper, also from the 1st log of teaching learning to the final project.
Strategy plays an important role in learning. According to the Anderson, 2008, p7, "I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand." Everyone has different learning style and the teaching strategies which helped me to enhance my learning in last four months are lectures, AV materials, healthy discussions between faculty and students has augmented my cognitive learning. According to Basavanthappa, (2003) "Psychological studies on learning and retention reveal that 80 percent of information and its retention is through auditory and visual senses. Because of the sensory appeal of audio-visual aids, the retention span of learning increases considerably." Reflective logs writing, project based presentation has increased my affective learning and role plays has improved my psychomotor learning. These strategies help me to gain and retain knowledge.
On the other hand, there are some of the factors that have some effects on learning. "Affective factors are emotional factors which influence learning. They can have a negative or positive effect." (Swan,M. n.d.), such factors can be internal and external motivation, beliefs and expectations, these factors at times encouraged me to work hard as my family motivated me, their expectations and beliefs lead me to this program but then an unexpected death of my grandmother brought an emotional breakdown to me and my family which affected my learning and my studies for a brief period. However, coming to school and keeping myself busy with projects and assignments helped me to divert my mind and cope up with tragedy.
Besides affective factors there are other factors as well. Positive learning environment plays an important role in learning and grasping. "For the development and fostering of active learning, environments using appropriate technological and other instructional tools in order to motivate and facilitate student learning." (Lee & Zeleke, n.d. pg 2). AKUSON promotes positive learning environment by providing well equipped class rooms with latest audio visual aids, learning resource center with free internet access, library with wide variety of educational books etc. These resources allowed me to enrich my learning. Based on my needs, I used different instructional medium to enhance my knowledge and skills. Post RN-BScN is a very well-designed and organized program. Mostly it does not burden me with loads of assignments. Courses are planned in advance including the material, invitation of guest speaker, objectives, assignments and evaluation. This helps me to prepare in advance and improve my organization and time management skills.
Conversely there were some of the reasons that inhibit my learning; the foremost was the use of moodle. At the beginning of the orientation I use to hear from faculties about the self directed learning or adult learning through moodle, this can be understand by means of Andragogy. "Andragogy consists of learning strategies focused on adults. It is often interpreted as the process of engaging adult learners with the structure of learning experience."(Wikipedia,2011). It involves the major role of a student for active learning and problem solving. Use of moodle, was directed for self learning. In the beginning I had difficulty understanding this method as it was something new for me but eventually as I was able to grasp it. I found that it very beneficial as all the pre reading material were posted but not for all the subjects There were some discussion forums which can be utilized as healthy conversation.
Beside this other factors that hindered my learning ability were the competition among the students, financial burden of the tuition fee and fear to fail a course. CHS course terrified me initially but through proper guidance and hard work I was able to achieve good marks in logs. It was not the end of my fear though; it increased with the next assignment. The assignment was an analytical paper, which constituted 40% of the marks. Unfortunately, it was during that time I lost my grandmother. On the contrary, I was motivated by my teaching learning group as they supported me in that crucial situation. They worked extra hard in my absence till I rejoin the teaching learning project again. This project facilitated me to identify my potentials, enable me to integrate my knowledge and work on the areas that I need to improve.
I believe that this project has enriched my learning skills. It has enhanced my ability to identify the needs of my community and/or patients which will enable me to provide teaching/care more effectively.
At the end of the semester when I look back, I realize that the position I have attained so far is not just because of my hard work but also because of the support of my faculties, my class mates, my friends and my family. Each day I learn a message to implement and improve my life style.