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Key skills: making a difference
Key skills: making a difference

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2.4 Using the framework

The three-stage framework focuses on the processes of learning, and is a general approach that you can use in different ways. However, skills development also needs a context and should be linked into your course or work activities. A useful starting point is to use your course or project to provide a timeframe for your skills development work.

If you are following a formal course of study, the course will have been designed to develop your knowledge and understanding of a subject area, and perhaps also develop particular skills, over a long period of time – probably several months. You can link in your key skills work to this timeframe by developing your strategy when you start, or even before you start, your course. You can then monitor your progress as you work through the course material and tackle the assignments. You will be able to evaluate your approach and your achievements as you near the end of the course, perhaps when you have completed the exams. If you are using these materials while developing your skills at work, then you may need to create your own timeframe and targets. You could do this by linking your skills development activities to a work-based project or a coherent set of work activities that have to be completed by a particular date, perhaps leading to a work review with your line manager or supervisor.

Of course, you may not want to spread your skills development over an entire course or project period. Many courses will be divided into smaller study blocks lasting a few weeks and often ending with a project or assessment activity. Work-based projects often have milestones that have to be achieved. You can use the same framework – planning, monitoring and evaluating – to help you organise your work for that block of study or the project milestone and to prepare for assessment or review. Nevertheless, you should allow at least 3–4 months to give yourself time to plan, practise, get feedback, and achieve your overall key skills targets. Over this period, print out and use the Skills Sheets to help you focus on each stage, to record your plans and goals, your work in progress and your overall evaluation and reflection on your skills development.