Learning to change
Learning to change

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Free course

Learning to change

1 Introduction

1.1 Welcome

Learning to change is a course for people who are interested in learning about making changes in their lives. We think that you will find the course interesting and that it will give you ideas that are useful for bringing about personal change.

The aims of this section are to:

  1. provide you with a clear idea of what the course is about and how it is structured
  2. help you understand the importance of the word ‘skills’
  3. start you thinking about your own learning.

This course is based on the assumption that learning and change are features of all our lives, including those of these three people:

Case Study: Karen

I left school w hen I was fifteen and I started work the day after. My qualifications were basically nil. I had no GCSEs. No A levels. I went to secondary modern school and I immediately got myself a job in an office as an office assistant when I left school. Three pounds ten shillings a week was my wage then. My first job was a filing clerk and I actually realised that I didn’t know my alphabet properly, so I actually found a file and I stuck it on the wall. My manager asked me what I was doing at that time and I admitted I was getting a little bit confused. And he said, ‘Well carry on. That’s a good idea.’ Oh – I would rather have the files in the correct order rather than have them wrong!

Described image
Figure 1 Karen

Case Study: Levene

I left school at the age of sixteen with three basic qualifications – CSE qualifications, as they were known.

Described image
Figure 2 Levene

Case Study: Shehnaz

I left school about sixteen years ago and I left with GCSEs and I was studying A levels which I weren’t up to because I got married. I was supposed to carry on with my studying but I didn’t because my mother-in-law was ill and so I ended up looking after her. And then we moved away and we moved to America for two years. We lived there and so that is why I had to have a break in my studies. And in between that I had my children. And because I was so young I didn’t want to leave them and go back to university. So while they were younger I used to child mind at home with them.

Described image
Figure 3 Shehnaz

These three stories are the starting point for this course, Learning to change. Each story says something about real experience in the lives of Karen, Levene and Shehnaz. You will be finding out more about these three people, but this course is primarily about your experience, particularly your experience of learning. The unite aims to suggest how you can use this experience as a starting point. We think that by getting a clearer picture of your knowledge, skills and qualities you will be able to use learning for personal development and change.

This focus on personal change does make Learning to change quite an unusual course in some ways. One way to think about this difference is to imagine what you would say if someone asked you what this course is about. Usually, someone asking this question would be satisfied if you said something like, ‘history’ or ‘the environment’. They may be slightly more puzzled if you say that it is about ‘learning’ or ‘change’. They may be just as puzzled if you say, ‘it’s about me’. (By the way, we think that all these would be reasonable answers.)

However, in other, important ways, this course is very much like others. For example, just like other units, it asks you to read and make sense of information. It is also similar to other units because, like them, it asks you to think about what you do in order to develop a deeper understanding. Even the fact that this course draws on information from different viewpoints is not so different from other units.

The course offers three sorts of viewpoint for you to explore how you can use learning to achieve personal change:

  1. The first viewpoint is your own. We think that by exploring your own experience of learning you will have a much better idea of your own viewpoint. This exploration may even make you change bits of your own perspective.
  2. The second viewpoint is provided by Karen, Levene and Shehnaz and by other people. Their experiences of learning show how it is possible to use learning. They are a resource that enables you to see what can be achieved.
  3. The final perspective is a different sort of resource and comes in the form of theories about learning.

Although these three viewpoints can be found in all parts of the course, the balance between them changes as you move through it. The next section sets out the structure of the course and gives you an indication of these changes.

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