1.4 Using this course
There is no single way to use this course and no single way to develop your key skills. The course is designed so that you can use it flexibly, moving around the sections to suit yourself. You can also choose when to use the course, but remember that skills development does not happen in isolation – it requires ‘content’. Therefore, you will find it helpful to use the course alongside a course or a specific project so that it provides you with opportunities to develop, practise and get feedback on improving your skills. Whenever you decide to use this course, plan your time carefully so that it fits in with your study and/or work schedules.
The structure of the course is straightforward. Section 1 introduces the course, its components and the key skills. Section 2, ‘Taking charge: redefining learning’, explains more about the way the key skills are described and how you can use this to support your skills development and as part of your learning overall. You need to work through this section before you start on the key skills sections (Sections 3 to 9).
Sections 3 to 9 focus on the seven different key skills. Section 3 relates to the key skill of improving your own learning and performance. Improving your own learning is the organising theme of this course and is central to all the other key skills. It is about you learning about how you learn and how you can learn more effectively. If you are not familiar with this key skill, this is the place to start because trying to improve your learning encompasses all the other skills you need for study and work. After that, the key skills sections can be tackled in any order and independently of each other. You can thus choose the key skill most relevant to your study at any particular time. Many students, for example, work on the key skill of improving own learning and performance with another skill, for example, IT or information literacy.
The course is structured so that you can, for example, use one or two sections at a time, incorporating them with your main study or work. But we hope you will use at least two or three of the key skills over time so that you become familiar with the approach to learning and be able to adapt it to suit your own purposes.