After completing the thirty two questions on line, I received feedback indicating that I should seek further assistance with time-management, concentration, note-taking skills, test preparation and test taking skills and writing skills.
Thinking about this I wrote up a personal SWOT analysis with the aim of trying to find out exactly where I was falling short and where I needed to improve. I found a downloadable example from Bristol Business School, belonging to the University of Western England, which helped me with the questions I should ask myself. I found it very difficult to determine my strengths except that I think I am imaginative and very personable at a social level. My weaknesses however, were easier to determine. I know I have trouble with writing, especially long assignments or reports - this PDP assignment is not too difficult because it is broken into different parts. I am very disorganized and never seem to have enough time to finish my assignments on time or have enough time to review the day's or week's lessons. My performance in seminars is not good enough because I am not properly prepared nor positively alert or motivated. I also worry a lot about whether or not I can finish everything and whether or not I will pass.
The main opportunities I could think of were gaining a good job in a good company after graduation and making my family happy by studying hard and graduating. Threats were easier to think about. The biggest threat, gaining a qualification, is obviously dependent solely on me and relates to my weaknesses. Only I can fix things but I believe I have the strength to overcome my weaknesses and prevent them from stopping me taking advantages of my opportunities. At least now I have thought about my strengths and weaknesses and understand that I need to develop in the following areas: time-management, applying myself to study by acquiring appropriate study habits and learning strategies and determining clear goals and objectives.
Next I completed a simplified version of a learning approaches questionnaire (based on Approaches to Study Inventory (Tait & Entwistle 1996) and provided by Bristol Business School.
Results indicated that I had a surface/passive approach to learning and that I tended to reproduce information and tried to memorize subject matter rather than delving further or seeking to extend that information; that I kept closely to the syllabus provided by the lecturers and did not follow up interest of my own, and that although I really tried and wanted to pass in order to gain a qualification, sometimes I did not do so well.
At this point I wanted to know more, so because learning styles is one component of this PDP assignment, I decided to spend time researching learning styles and strategies. I wanted to take the first step in the challenge of changing from a surface learner (not questioning) to a deep learner, and find out more about what learning styles and strategies were, before determining which best suited me. (Refer to essay below on Learning Styles.)
My second step was to find out more about time-management, not only because it was a component of this PDP assignment but also because I obviously needed to improve this skill. Again, I began with research in the area to acquire as much information as possible, from which I could then develop the most appropriate