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

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3.4 Monitoring progress

Monitoring progress is about keeping track of what you are doing and how well you are doing it as you work towards your targets. It is about being able to make an assessment about yourself and being ‘self aware’ about your own capabilities, how you learn best, things that have helped you and so on. One problem in becoming more aware of yourself and making a self-assessment is that you may not know enough terms to describe yourself. Think of the first time you were asked to describe a painting, perhaps for a course in art appreciation or on a visit to an art gallery. At first you might have been stymied in terms of what to say about the painting. Adjectives such as ‘interesting’, ‘colourful’, and ‘imaginative’ might have been your first thoughts. Describing and assessing yourself, similar to describing a painting, requires skill. You could start by preparing a self-description which you could share with a friend. Describing and assessing yourself is important because it leads to more self-awareness and self-knowledge.

A practical use of knowledge about yourself is to use it as a method of strengthening your self-confidence. There are many ways to develop self-confidence. For example, hearing positive things about yourself from others is a good confidence builder. Other tactics include scoring a few easy victories, using positive self-talk and imagery, becoming self-directing (taking responsibility for events around you), developing a solid knowledge base, developing and publicising new skills, being proud of your work, and taking risks.

Assessing your own improvement is never going to be easy. At work you may have a ‘competency framework’ to refer to and if you are taking a course you may have been provided with criteria for an assignment or project.

On their own, such statements have limited value. You need to be able to interpret them against your own work and in your own particular context. Enlist help from your manager, tutor, and colleagues or other students. This is why getting feedback from others is so useful.

This key skill encourages you to consider ways to monitor your progress by knowing how to:

  • manage your time effectively;

  • use different ways and methods to learn; and

  • seek and use feedback.

To help you keep track and monitor progress, use your log or diary comments. From the record of your learning, at a later date you can confidently look back at your notes and begin to assess how well you are achieving your targets to improve. It is also useful to begin to put together a ‘portfolio’ of your achievements, such as, for example, assignments and project reports, to show what you have learned and the ways you have learned. Comments are also useful on what has helped you to learn, difficulties you may have encountered, choices you made and reflections on your learning and performance.

The notes that follow guide you through monitoring and critically reflecting on your progress.