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Education & Development

Thinking about my next steps

Updated Wednesday, 4th March 2015

What are your goals and aspirations for the future? What are your next steps?

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Two ladies talking while holding files of notes Copyrighted  image Icon Copyright: The Open University / Richard Learoyd Let’s leave aside for one moment the actual subject areas that interest you and consider where to go next. Spend a little time at this stage thinking about your study experience so far and your goals and aspirations for the future, both in terms of your studies and your life in general.

Below, we’ve outlined some useful tools and suggestions to help you.

Reflecting on my learning

It’s a good idea to review your progress and to reflect on how things are going during the course of your studies. For example you might like to do a brief review at the beginning of a study session or after completing a unit. Have you found yourself making links between what you’ve learned and things you come across in everyday life, for instance when watching the news or talking to friends?

Consider too whether there have been any surprises to your learning – perhaps something about yourself, for instance that you are interested in a subject or area that before your studies you knew nothing about.

Your Learning Log as a planning tool

Write down the individual units you have covered and some comments on how you found them in terms of the topic and level of difficulty. This will help you identify which subject areas appeal to you. It will also help to start you thinking about the appropriate level for further study, if you are considering progressing further.
Image of student Katrina Copyrighted  image Icon Copyright: Ross Finnie - The Open University "I was looking around for something else to do... and at a meeting at the carers centre they told us about the course that they were running... I just put my name down that day and that was it... two years on from that day and I'm living a different life. It's almost unbelievable!" Katrina

Further resources

The process of reflection can help us more generally to examine our goals, choices and motivations. Reflection increases self-knowledge and can help us to appreciate more fully our skills and qualities.
With this in mind OpenLearn Works offers a generic Reflection Toolkit which aims to get you thinking about yourself, who you are, what you want to do, and how you can work towards getting there. Caring Counts is a free reflection and planning course for carers.
Another useful resource is The Open University careers website. It offers information and tips on choosing and planning your career. Additional services are also available for OU students.

There is no requirement to move on to further study. However if you would like to take your learning further you can either continue with informal learning or progress to formal learning options.






This is part of a collection to accompany The Open University in Scotland's Open Pathways to Higher Education.




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