ROBERT GORDON UNIVERSITY
MSc. HUMAN RESOURCE MANAGEMENT
BSM 160: PERSONAL AND RESEARCH SKILLS (FULL TIME)
WORD COUNT: 1,051
This reflective paper aims at analyzing my learning experience in the Personal and Research Skills module and how these experiences are likely to help both my post graduate study at The Robert Gordon University and my future career. During my post graduate studies at The Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen, Personal and Research Skills was one of the four modules I took in the first semester. This module invoked a mixed feeling of anxiety and eagerness to learn more about effective learning skills, critical thinking and problem solving. I had many thoughts going through my head as I deliberated on the structure and content of this module. In the course of discussing the module overview and after attending lecturers for the first four weeks, the misconception of the module being a theoretical one was corrected the moment I realised that the learning skills that were presented such as learning styles and reflection were very practical and applicable to my everyday life. I was caught up in my thoughts, thinking about my past experiences and how differently I would have approached learning if I had prior knowledge of these learning skills. Even though I had previously been introduced to learning styles at a training program I attended on emerging leaders in Ghana, I realized that I did not gain thorough understanding to enable me effectively apply the learning to my life experiences. The module enlightened me on new and better ways of learning by understanding one’s preferred learning styles, reflective learning, critical thinking amongst others. I then realized that understanding my preferred learning style and constant reflection on my experiences would enable me know my study preferences and would subsequently enhance my performance, especially at post graduate level where I am expected to conduct a lot of research and be a self directed learner.
According to Mohammed Elastir, a skill is the ability to use knowledge, a developed aptitude and/or a capability to effectively and readily execute or perform an activity” (Horn, 2009 pg57). I believe the awareness of one’s preferred learning styles and constant reflection could even help improve my critical thinking and analytical ability. Prior to studying this module, I thought reflection simply meant thinking or reminiscing about past events which I considered myself an expert at because I have a natural habit of thinking about the series of events of my day before I go to sleep. I felt anew upon discovery of these skills and there was an instant change in my way of thinking. As Bridges (2009) explains, change involves an individual unlearning the old ways in order to learn new ways of doing things. In addition, I had no previous knowledge that once learners are aware of their own learning styles, it enables them to adapt their learning strategies to suit different learning tasks in particular contexts. Learners can take advantages of their learning styles by matching learning strategies with their styles; similarly, learners can compensate for the disadvantages of their learning styles to balance their learning by adjusting learning strategies (Oxford 1993, cited in Wong & Nunan 2011). This would allow me to maximize my potential by allowing me to refine my learning through the strategies I adopt and in effect, reduce the stress and frustrations that could arise from my learning experiences. Given that I am an international student with a different learning experience from students who are based in the United Kingdom, my ability to adjust learning strategies in my academic work could stand me in good stead both at post graduate level as well as my future career. Hence, the learning process in the United Kingdom would now be enjoyable, my self confidence would be improved and I...
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