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I had earlier under-estimated the relevance of PASS module to my academic and career goals. All the initial classes before Buxton Residential were not taken serious. At Buxton I realised the strategic multi-facet role of PASS to the overall realisation of my dreams, goals and objectives both academically and career-wise. PASS module has actually exposed the fundamental structure of my education and career pursuits.
The study of learning style involves the investigation of individual differences: people perceive and gain knowledge differently, they form ideas and think differently, and they act differently (Kolb D A 1984). Everybody has a preferred learning style. Knowing and understanding our learning style helps us to learn more effectively. Through identifying your learning style, you will be able to capitalize on your strengths and improve your self-advocacy skills.
The journey to my understanding of my learning style commenced from my self-awareness. A critical review of the "Johari Window" also referred to as a "disclosure/feedback" model of "self-awareness" and an "information processing tool" made me realise my lack of self-knowledge and poor receipt of feedbacks At my workplace before commencing my studies, there was always this idea of pretending on my weaknesses and that of other team members as a means of protecting one's sensitivity and fear of criticisms or upsetting anybody. This had often impacted negatively on the tasks.
According to , for one to effectively enhance his/her performance at workplace or studies, s/he needs to be aware of the areas of his/her weak areas that need improvement and strong areas to capitalise on. The Johari model has really made me discover that it is better to be open-minded as a leader or team-member so as to be able to make good observation of self and others and allow others observe you as well, all with feedbacks. In future group work I will always apply this knowledge both in school and at workplace. As its knowledge and application will increase the open areas by decreasing the blind areas, asking for and then receiving feedback; reducing hidden areas through disclosure; reducing the unknown areas by observations, self-discovery or mutual enlightenment via group experiences and discussions. I have therefore learnt that as a manager I have to play the important role in encouraging feedback and disclosure amongst team members and giving feedback directly to individuals about their own blind areas, promoting a culture and expectation for open, honest, positive, helpful, constructive, sensitive communications, and knowledge sharing.
The above thinking-pattern influenced my approach to my learning-style-preference issues. To understand my preferences and how my chosen course experiences have enhanced them, I undertook a number of learning style tests and questionnaires which for the purpose of this report may be limited to VARK and Honey & Mumford Models.
A critical self-assessment test of cognitive learning style (Honey & Mumford, 1982) revealed my learning style preferences as being predominantly activitist seconded by pragmatist. My major weaknesses which are mainly in the theorist and reflector styles were evidently exposed.
Being a successful manager requires efficient application of 'emotional intelligence' which will definitely enhance my understanding of my employees' or team members' conduct. Fulfilment of my career's psychological contract would require efficient employment of this and other necessary skills of a successful manger to effectively discharge of my responsibilities. Also fully integrating the cognitive learning styles would help me excel in the constantly changing learning environment as well as overcome every obstacle of employee receptivity to change thereby making sound timely, appropriate and consistent decisions (Frahm and Brown, 2007).
Exercises in PASS module has greatly impacted on my as most of the associated lessons, tasks, homework and assignments are reflection-based with extensive theory-knowledge requirements. For example, in week-7 workshop on thinking, the class was asked to take a few moments to reflect on individual reasons for being at the workshop and ways in which one hopes to benefit from attendance. That also offered me ample opportunity to think and reflect. The startling discoveries I made about my reasons of being in attendance had never crossed my imagination hitherto. That exercise and others greatly enhanced my weak areas of reflection and theorists style preferences as since then I always try to employ reflective thoughts on any task before me.
Understanding the VARK assessment results also revealed my strengths and weaknesses as a learner. According to Coffield (2004), "all the advantages claimed for meta-cognition can be gained by encouraging learners to become knowledgeable about their own learning and that of others (Coffield, F.,et al,2004).
The result revealed my multimodal physical learning preferences which give one the choice of two or three or four modes to use for interaction with others. Those with this preference can be flexible as they can choose to match or align my mode to suit others around them . Having a total score above thirty also suggested that I belong to the 'whole-sense' approach group within the multimodal categories which means that for me to interact effectively there must be a combination of different modes. Although this may be good because as a qualified manager it gives me the opportunity of understanding tasks very deeply but it can also make task implementation very slow. Also, in a strictly mono-modal environment, my ability to learn and interact with others will be significantly minimal if not zero since instructions are passed via a particular mode only whereas I strictly need a combination of more than one. A critically analysis of the result also revealed that to be a qualified manager I need to work to balance my preferences so that I will be able to interact effectively with utmost flexibility.
My kinesthetic and Read/Write styles were developed through the teaching method in marketing module classes. For every topic a case-study video clip is shown. Initially it wasn't easy for me but when I saw that there was no option I had to improve and eventually get used to the style. Afterwards I came to realise fully its impact on my physical learning style. This was also confirmed in one of the PASS module classes on Time management where a video clip was used to teach the topic.
i) The first area of my cognitive learning preference that needs improvement is Reflector. I always like to jump into a new task without proper understanding and this has more often than not impacted negative on my performance.
ii) To tackle the above problem, I plan to:
take out time first to study any new material or task critically seeking to understand its import clearly as this will enhance my proper understanding of the material/task.
check and study any available outline or (instructions if a task) trying to develop special and motivating interest in order to strengthen my understanding of how to go about the task and minimize failure chances.
check out any previous similar material/work/task to learn from past experience whether positive or negative.
break the material/task into smaller parts to ease learning.
always seek for feedback on my performance
practice enough as careful and steady practice makes perfect.
iii) A careful implement the above plans will enhance my preference for reflector type of cognitive learning style thereby increasing my versatility as a learner or task team-member. As a qualified manager in a global business environment, I need to be versatile and adaptable to any type of learning/working environment or experience.
i) I also discovered from the test results my lack of preference for theorists style of cognitive learning which will definitely hinder my performance if in an environment exclusively suitable for theorists type.
ii) To tackle this problem, I have the following action plan:
Start practising rational thinking learnt in PASS module to develop the skill and eventually the interest.
Start developing interest in theories may be starting with informal one in my hobby area like sports and graduating to the formal ones. Trying to understand and link them with physical realities on ground
Start developing and asking relevant questions very often for further understanding of new material or task.
iii) Eventually these practices will enhance my improvement in the theorists style of cognitive learning which will in turn increase my adaptability. It will also enhance my rational thinking, conceptualization and reflective skills required of a qualified manager. Increase my ability to clearly grasp and effectively apply theories in any new environment.
i) Belonging to the 'whole-sense' approach group in the Multimodal preference categories is one of my shortcomings.
ii) To solve this problem require an improvement in my weaker physical learning style preferences of Visual and Aurial. I hope to improve on them my following the action plan listed below;
Developing interest in picture and diagrams both formal and informal particular those we fancy.
Making a mental picture of whatever we hear or read or study. Trying to sketch a physical picture of those.
Develop shore, simple but clear symbols to represent texts, issues, concepts, theories, etc
Study and learn flow-charts and graphs drawing
Practice turning words into visuals and vice versa.
Aural: According to Hayes (2002), those who cannot listen cannot relate, and those who relate with poor listening destabilize the ability for one to communicate with others.
Practice summarising and converting my notes into tapes and listening to them.
Make a mental picture of a discussion with the tutor and possible questions and attempt answering same.
iii) As a qualified manager in a global business environment, I am expected to adapt to any type of environment in giving and receiving information since there may be need to work across different cultures with different styles or in a strictly mono-modal environment as stated earlier. Having a preference for aural and visual in addition to kinaesthetic and reading physical learning styles will ultimately enhance my skills in this regard.