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In this essay, I will discuss the academic study skills and competencies that I have gained in my first year in higher education. I will talk about the specific learning needs and what I did during semester 2 to address these needs to aid my personal development. I will further discuss the key research concepts I have learnt and what research methodological approaches appealed to me. I will highlight how my principles and values were challenged through my learning on this Module and how this might impact my professional practice in Health and Social Care Practice.
LEARNING ON THE MODULE
In PDP1, I stated that I was able to understand different learning styles and completed Kolb’s learning style questionnaire. Before this module, I struggled with my learning as I did not quite understand my learning style. Through Kolb’s learning style questionnaire used in class by my lecturer, I realized that there are four learning styles which are; Activist, Reflector, Theorist and Pragmatist (Kolb, 1984). The questionnaire showed a true reflection of me as a reflector and a theorist. I usually need time to reflect on the information given to me and the theorist part of me wants handouts for all my lectures. Through this module, I realised that I need to change my learning styles to be successful in higher education. Since my experience in PDP1 going forward, I have learnt to play the role of an activist and adjust to practical tasks. This has helped me in my learning through semester 2 as I was able to adjust my learning styles. The knowledge I acquired have enabled me to learn by doing and not to shy away from role plays and group discussion. I have understood that in higher education, I will not be given handouts or lecture notes and must do more reading to be ahead of the task given to me.
According to Kolb (2015), people learn from their experience and higher education learning is an experiential learning for personal development. I can rightly, state that I have been able to learn from my experience in higher education and improve myself as my assessment results have improved over time. I paid attention to feedback about my work and made the necessary correction to my work.
Also, I mentioned in PDP1 that I will familiarise myself with Weblearn and the resources available on it. I was able to check on all the useful resources on Weblearn, for example, the Module Guide, Assessment Guide and Learning Materials to mention but a few have been a good resource for my study and assessment. I found my learning much easier and less overwhelming because I am making a good use of Weblearn. Also, I stated in my PDP1 that I will make use of the School Librarian as I struggled in Semester 1 to find information in the library. I was able to resolve this problem because I attended referencing sessions with the School Librarian and was shown how to use the library resources. Furthermore, I plan to make use of the academic mentors for Semester 2 to improve my essay and report writing skills. Presently, I have not been able to see my academic mentors, but I am doing fine as the useful resources on Weblearn as enabled me to be ahead with my assessment and tasks given to me. For example, I was able to improve my ability on Harvard Referencing. In Semester 1, I found referencing very confusing and often I made mistakes when I reference. But through the Reference Guide on Weblearn, I was able to understand in depth Harvard Referencing which is required by this institution (London Metropolitan University). I can now reference with ease. Prior to taking this module, I was confused about academic writing and the proper way to be critical. Learning this module has enabled me to critique in an academic manner without being judgmental. I can examine idea or statement presented to me in a well-reasoned manner. The above has aid my learning on the module and I can see that I am improving myself in higher education through the skills I have learnt.
According to Neale (2009), a research topic is a broad problem area or an issue and the issue in question will be the focus of the research. A research method can be quantitative or qualitative, and primary or secondary research.
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My research interest is Diabetes because of its high prevalence in our society. In Britain there are 4 million adults and children living with diabetes, and itsprevalence in the borough of Enfield, where I live is staggering. According to Annual Public Health Report 2016, cited in London Borough of Enfield – 2016 Health Report, the number of people with diabetes in the borough is on the increase yearly. It has the 7th highest level of prevalence of diabetes in London, as it is projected that 30,000 people aged 16+ in Enfield are at risk of developing prediabetes (Enfield Council, Diabetes Report, 2016).
A Journal article by Connolly, et al., (2000) showed the prevalence of diabetes in deprived areas in the UK. The article shows that there is a correlation between diabetes and poverty. The research shows that the prevalence of type 2 diabetes is related to socio-economic status but there is no link with type 1 diabetes and socio-economic status. The research was carried out using secondary care health records of 4,313 patients. It confirmed that there was a significant trend between the prevalence of type 2 diabetes and five different variables of deprivation score for men and women.
The research methodology used in the above article is quantitative methods and it is secondary research methods because as I indicated above it used already existed data. The above report mainly involves gathering numerical data and factual knowledge about the social world. This contrasts with qualitative methods which explore people’s feelings or personal opinions to better understand social phenomena (Neale, 2009). Qualitative research aims to gather opinion and facts, and stories which aim to shed light on the research topic from an insider. I prefer quantitative research methods because they seek to test theory or ideas using previously established data while qualitative research methods gather theories based from their own data (Neale, 2009). Also, I am in favour of quantitative research method because it is easy for everyone to understand and large amount of considerable data can be obtained from large participants even when they are geographically dispersed. In contrast to qualitative which takes time and its validity and reliability is often subjective (Neale, 2009).
PRINCIPLES AND VALUES CHALLENGED
In this section, I will use Gibb’s reflective cycle (1988) cited in Bassot (2013) to reflect upon my experience during this module. This first stage in Gibb’s cycle is Description, (which describes what happened); followed by Feelings (which is about how we feel); next is Evaluation (what is good and bad about the experience), next stage is Analysis (what sense can we draw from the situation); this is followed by Conclusion (in which we consider what else we could have done) and Lastly, is the Action Plan which enables us to consider what we would do if the situation arise again in the future (Bassot, 2013).
Description: Using Gibb’s module, I will briefly discuss what happened in class in May 2019. I was in a group and task were assigned to us to reduce local authority cost by taking away some services. My group agreed that we should take away a service for gay people. I agreed with it as I used to believe that it was not necessary to render a service to them and if there was a cut, the service to gay people should be the one to be taken off. This module challenged my thinking that it ought not to be so.
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Feeling: I felt bad as I never saw things that way and came to the realisation that service should not be taken away for any group of people just because of their sexuality is different to others.
Evaluation: I realized that I was judgmental which was negative towards my fellow human beings. What was good about the experience was the lesson I learnt, that I can critique information presented to me in a positive way without being judgmental or bias.
Analysis: I learnt that discrimination relates primarily to unfairness, inequality and injustice. It is also an oppression of those people because it involves a low valuation of a person’s worth that may put them at risk of rejection, harm or even death.
Conclusion: I could have based my reason on what was best for the community and not based on people’s sexual orientation.
Action Plan: In the future, when I am faced with a decision that relates to others, I will evaluate the situation based on the needs on ground and not on people’s sexuality. I have developed a positive thinking which is the development of anti-oppression (Nzira, 2009).
In London met, I have learnt that I had to work on my learning styles, academic writing, views and opinions I hold about others. I realized that working this way would enable me to be a better and skilled practitioner. The research skills I have learnt would enable me to progress to my second year without agitation. I can confidently say, that I am now skilled in my work. According to Johnson and Johnson (2017), experiential learning is the generating of an action theory from your own personal experiences, and frequently adjusting your learning to improve your efficiency. This module has enabled me to do just that as my learning attitudes have been modified and my skills have been expanded through this module.
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