What are you learning now?
What more do you need to learn the ‘facts’ about your chosen subject? How are you becoming potentially more effective? The first chapter suggested some things that the government and employers think you should be learning - Key skills to do with communication, working with others, using numbers, using IT, problem-solving, and, of course, ‘learning to learn’ in the applied sense of improving your the own learning and performance in any situation. If you have never thought about the wider learning that your student experience offers, it is worth taking time for a brief audit of this. By the end of the book, you should have a clearer understanding of the range of possible transferable skills and be able to update and expand your audit. I
Even for specialist knowledge, an employer or probably be interested in your ability to use, rather than merely recite, what you know. Application is crucial, but is something many students find difficult. The skill of applying conceptual frameworks is hardest of all. Yet it is crucial to the sort of learning, you need from your studies.
Employers expect graduates to be able to understand problematic situations in order to respond appropriately. When the context changes you cannot simply do what you successfully did before. To adapt to a new situation, you need to understand what you were doing in the old one, and why it worked there.
Organisational life is complex, and conceptual frameworks, that is, mental models, help it to make sense of it. Some of these frameworks or set of assumptions, you will already be using, probably without being aware of them. Kolb recognised the importance of these ‘theories’ and of the role of conscious reflection in their development (Kolb et al., 1984). He suggested a model of how ideas and experience are integrated, with a learning a circular rather than one-off process of making sense of things. You do something, reflect on your...