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

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3.4.2 Using different ways and approaches to learn

Always aim to select the way of learning that fits with what you intend to learn. If your goal is to improve your presentation skills, you need to prepare and practise presenting your work. If you need to relate theory to practise in your job, you need to spend time understanding how theory can relate to practice, perhaps by reviewing and discussing case studies. This may seem obvious but people often make wrong choices out of habit. There is a natural tendency to use ways we feel most familiar with, yet these may not be the best for the outcome you hope to achieve.

Once you are clear about what the learning task involves, you are in a better position to make informed decisions about how best to go about it. For example, some people prefer learning IT skills through training courses, others are happy to use a manual and trial and error. Many people enjoy working on their own and ‘at a distance’, but some also enjoy the company and stimulus of working with others to discuss ideas and explore their understandings. Thinking about how you learn in relation to what you need to learn is key to managing your own learning.

Time out

As you develop and practise your skills, try to be critical of the way you learn and the approach you take. Do you need to do anything differently? Would it help to discuss this with other students or your tutor? When you have worked on a particular task, think about how you feel it went. Make a note in your file of the different ways you use to learn, as well as comments and evaluation of these ways.