Developing a strategy
5.3.1 Plan your use of IT skills and select methods
Exploring and planning an activity often results in a number of different options, possibilities and ways forward. Some approaches will be more feasible or will interest you more than others. At this stage, you need to think about how you will be using your IT skills and how you will assess the overall quality of your work.
Review the skills you will need to achieve your goals and the criteria you will use to check that you have achieved them. Opportunities and constraints to do with your level of personal expertise, availability of resources, access limitations, work patterns, health and safety issues, social, ethical and moral concerns may all influence your plans.
If you intend to communicate or process information, you will need to choose software and techniques that are appropriate for the tasks you want to do, and be able to justify your selection. If you are presenting information you should be able to explain the pros and cons of the methods you are using. What decisions have you made about the techniques you are going to use, and why have you made them?
Be realistic about what you can achieve in the time you have available and set yourself some deadlines. Remember that plans are guidelines against which you can check progress, but also that all plans are based on assumptions about the future. Keep your plans under review and be prepared to modify them if circumstances change or if your assumptions don't work out. Record your decisions, plans and actions in your Skills File.
What IT methods or techniques do you plan to use, and how will you use them? Go back to any plans you have made and check that they are relevant, up to date and realistic.
Activity: Developing your IT skills strategy
For this activity you will need to print the Skills Sheet, ‘Developing your strategy’.
Outline a strategy for developing and improving your information technology skills by focusing on the following questions. In developing your IT skills:
What do you hope to achieve?
What opportunities do you have for practising and improving your IT skills?
What resources, including help and advice from others, can you draw on?
How do you intend to achieve your goals and outcomes, and what timetable have you set yourself? Include dates of any relevant assignments you intend to submit.
Make brief notes:
justifying why you have chosen your goals; and
indicating the constraints – or your own learning styles and preferences – which may influence the way you learn and improve your skills.
Refer to the figure below for an example of a completed Skills Sheet for this stage of the key skills framework.