Who Am I As A Learner? Essay
The report is based on evaluating my position as a learner by investigating my learning style, learning preferences and underlining any areas of strengths as well as weakness. Furthermore, the report also describes the methods for enhancing the learning abilities. These learning abilities will help to provide significant support to my career. In order to evaluate my learning style, I have used several analytical techniques in the report such as Myers-Briggs test, Belbin test and VARK test. In addition, I also used Honey and Mumford learning style questionnaire as a part of self-analysis mechanism. Section A of the report describes the different learning styles I possess along with the implications of learning. Furthermore, it also illuminates my transferrable skills and lifelong learning experiences.
Who am I as a Learner?
According to Winstanley (2005), learning can occur at any time whether willingly or unintentionally. People often consider learning as an attainment of new knowledge and abilities, but it is much beyond that. Apart from knowledge and abilities, learning can help to gain new understandings and insights, new viewpoints, new methods of thinking and new ways of acting among others. It is an active procedure which helps to develop skills and to apply new knowledge into action (Winstanley, 2005).
Romanelli, Bird & Ryan (2009) stated that learning can be attained in different ways. The learning style acts as an indicator of how people observe, cooperate and respond to specific learning environments. Learning style or preferences are regarded as one of the major factors of success in academic as well as professional life (Romanelli, Bird & Ryan, 2009). In this context, it can be stated that there are several methods which help to identify the personal learning preferences.
In order to understand my position as a learner I have applied Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) which is based on Jung’s typology test. This test is developed on the basis of four activities of human consciousness which are feeling, thinking, intuition and sensation. Jung had stated that every person possesses the above four aspects to a certain extent. However, differences can be observed in terms of strengths involved in different individuals with respect to the above aspects. Jung had stated about sixteen different personality typologies which are further classified into four preferences namely:
Source: (Razenberg, 2000)
The outcome of Myers-Briggs Test (see appendix 1) provided significant understanding regarding my personality types. By undertaking Jung’s typology test, I have learnt that I possess ENFJ personality types. It is one of the sixteen personality types, which had been described by Jung. With this concern, my personality types i.e. ENFJ describes the existence of outgoing, social, expressive, organised, frank, punctual, noble and positive characteristics.
In terms of ENFJ, I have moderate preference of extraversion over introversion. I seek steadiness through pleasant associations and mutual values. As an extrovert, I feel encouraged to indulge in communications with different people. I have slight preference of intuition over sensing. I tend to be intellectual in nature. I concentrate on the upcoming potentials rather than instant realities. From the result, it has also been observed that I have slight preference of feeling over thinking. I give importance to subjective thoughts over objective principles to a certain extent. During decision making, I often provide more focus to the social associations rather than reasoning. Finally, I also have slight preference of judging over perceiving. At times, I develop a feeling of control by expectedness. On the basis of Jung’s theory, it can be stated that I am outgoing, energetic and believe in action. I concentrate on the future and at times allow making my sensations and emotions to lead over the thinking, as I have high concern for other people. This can be considered as a weakness of my personality type. I prefer a pivotal, strategic and logical lifestyle which is well-organised and well-controlled (Butt, 2012).
The other vital personality test is Belbin test. This test helps to recognise the preferred personality in the team environment. According to Belbin model, there are certain sets of skills which can determine the personality of a person. Belbin described nine personality types for people and each personality type plays a different and a unique role in a team. Thus, in order to recognise my personality types and roles I prefer to play in team environment, I have used Belbin test. The Belbin helps me to recognise which role I enjoy to play.
From the result of Belbin test (refer to appendix 2), it can be observed that one of the most preferred roles for me is plant. I possess creative ability and I am also competent in solving practical problems. I can present new thoughts and methods while undertaking regular activities. Resource investigator is the other preferred role performed by me. I am keen to utilise new ideas and also quite communicative with the team members. I also prefer to discover any new opportunities. My other preferred personality is shaper. I can perform challenging tasks and I also have the determination to overcome any hindrances that arrive in my path. Apart from these three roles, I can also manage the role of a coordinator. I can bring people together in order to encourage conversation. I can also foster cooperation among team members. My other manageable role is monitor evaluator. To a certain level, I can make unbiased judgements regarding the selection of different options in an objective manner. Finally, I can also act as an implementer. I have the capability to take practical steps. I can put different ideas into action. Nevertheless, I have least preference towards the role of team worker, complete finisher and specialist. This denotes that that I am quite indecisive in crisis conditions. At times, I incline to worry excessively. The other vital weakness of my personality type is that from time to time I tend dwell on specific personal interests.
Honey & Mumford
Honey & Mumford had developed four different learning preferences that can be followed by any person namely activist, theorist, pragmatist and reflector (University of Leicester, n.d.). In order to understand my preferred learning style, I have used Honey & Mumford questionnaire. The questionnaire is designed in such a way so that it can identify the learning preferences that best suit my style.
The outcome of the questionnaire (refer to appendix 3) depicts that I have very strong inclination towards activist learning style. I prefer to involve in new practices and I am always quite excited regarding the application of new thoughts. I prefer to learn by actual performances and consider the implications of my performances afterwards. Hence, it can be stated that I follow the open-minded approach of learning by involving myself in new experiences. I also have strong preference towards pragmatist learning style. It denotes that I am always eager to try new concepts and put my learning into real life practices. I am quite intolerant with extensive discussions. Besides, I prefer to examine new theories and techniques to observe if they actually work. I have moderate preference towards theorist. To a certain extent I prefer to know the principal ideas behind certain actions. I need certain models, ideas and evidences for involving in the learning procedure. I also like to evaluate and develop new information into a methodical and rational theory. Finally, I have low preference towards reflector learning procedure. Thus, from the analysis of questionnaire findings, it can be stated that I can learn effectively when:
Participating in new practises and opportunities
Performing with team members
Being involved in challenging tasks
There is an association between subject and job
There is an opportunity to try new techniques
The new techniques or models for conducting certain activities are presented with clear benefits
Being involved in difficult situations where there is a requirement for utilising abilities and knowledge
The situation or problem is structured with obvious purposes
Source: (University of Leicester, n.d.)
Nevertheless, the analysis of questionnaire also depicts that I can learn less when:
Participating in logical lectures and justifications
Involving in reading or writing activities
Being rushed or concerned by the time limit
There are no specific guidelines
There is poor adjustment or coordination with other team members possessing dissimilar learning styles
VARK analysis is considered as the other useful method for recognising the preferred learning style. According to VARK model, people can learn by three possible ways such as by visual, aural, read/write and kinaesthetic ways. Visual preference comprises a representation of information through graphical ways such as through charts, graphs and diagrams among other methods. Aural learning preference describes the interpretation of information through auditory ways such as by hearing or talking. The read/write preference includes the propensity of using test oriented methods for understanding or learning certain subjects. Finally, kinaesthetic preference comprises the use of practical experience for learning. Thus, in order to understand my preferred learning style, I have conducted VARK analysis (Fleming & Baume, 2006).
From the outcome (refer to appendix 4), I have found that I follow the visual and kinaesthetic learning style. I have gained high score on these two aspects. While it can be observed that I have moderate preference towards aural learning style and very low preference towards read and write learning style.
Since I prefer visual learning style, I can understand body languages and facial terminologies. I prefer to think learning subjects by pictures and can learn effectively from visual presentations such as diagrams, illustrations, videos, charts and graphs and the use of collaborative graphics. In order to learn, I prefer to take thorough notes. My most preferred learning style has been recognised as kinaesthetic learning style. I can learn effectively by following a practical approach. I am very poor at adopting read and write learning style. I find it challenging to analyse information which are displayed as words. Besides, I have moderate preference towards auditory learning style. To a certain extent, listening to verbal lessons, discussions and talking help to learn. However, at times, I feel impatient to sit and listen for a long period of time. Thus, considering the VARK analysis, my most preferred learning strategies can be identified as:
Highlighting vital points
Creating visual cues
Highlighting information through different colour and providing underline
Using charts and diagrams
Using real examples and experiences
Using field trips or tours
Using workroom investigations
Using exhibitions, samples and photographs
Source: (Southwestern Community College, 2006)
Implication of the Learning
With respect to the above questionnaire analysis, it can be stated that I am an experiential learner. True experience plays a vital role in my learning procedure. I prefer to utilise and apply new knowledge and experiences in relevant environment. From the perspective of personality, it can be stated that I have ENFJ characteristics. I have outgoing personality and good interpersonal ability. I become highly inspired by the external environments and prefer to devote time to other people. I prefer to think about the future rather than immediate present and put much emphasis on subjective considerations, rather than objective criteria. I am organised and enjoy structured as well as careful planning. These characteristics have high implications on my learning style. As a learner, I am quick to grasp new opportunities and am highly enthused by new thoughts. I am much comfortable to learn while dealing with new problems, going through excitement and undertaking a range of miscellaneous activities. I can involve with other people in order to discuss new concepts as a part of a team. Furthermore, structured situations with clear purposes also foster me to learn effectively (The University of Nevada, n.d.).
From the Belbin test, it has been found that I have high scores on plant, resource investigator and shaper personalities. It denotes that I prefer to learn by using original ideas and searching for completely new approaches. I also learn through challenging tasks where I have the opportunity to use my skills and abilities. I also learn from outside sources, by developing communications and interactions with people. In order to gain new information regarding any subject, I frequently take the assistance of internet and other communication media.
In Honey & Mumford questionnaire findings, I have gained high scores on activist and pragmatist criteria, which also implicate on my learning style. I desire to involve in utilising new skills and get excited with the thought of obtaining new ideas. I also like to apply theoretical concepts in practical jobs. I am also recognised as a visual and kinaesthetic learner.
Thus, aspects such as the use of images, figures, charts, videos, symbols, practical experiences, real life examples, case studies and field experiments among other aspects facilitate me to learn effectively (Penger & Tekavcic, 2009).
Implication for Career Choice
The above learning styles and personality types can have significant implication on the career choice. With respect to employment, the above analyses suggest that I am extravert, feelers, prefer challenging tasks and desire to use new experiences and ideas into action. Thus, a personality like me would thrive in unconventional, liberalised and creative organisations. In an organisation, I can bring energy, friendliness, keenness and cooperative working environment. I can constantly foster harmony and collaboration among employees. However, personality type such as mine at times becomes quite vulnerable while making tough decisions. Furthermore, my personality type can also cause me to get involved with the problems of people. At times, I can be over confident and also disregard the incidents which can cause problem in my job. I am suitable for those roles where innovativeness and change is highly valued.
Lifelong learning is considered as a vital part of life in today’s globalised society. Lifelong learning is recognised as the procedure of obtaining new knowledge, experience and ability throughout life through education, training programs, work and other life experiences. Lifelong learning is considered as every learning activity which is instigated throughout the entire life. The objective of lifelong learning is to improve the aptitude, awareness from school period to after retirement. It facilitates people to adjust to the constantly changing society (European Communities, 2007).
Lifelong learning is gradually being mentioned as one of the major principles in the academic and professional areas. The idea of learning during entire life is not a modern phenomenon. Ancient civilisations throughout the world focused on the obligation to learn ‘from cradle to the grave’ (Medel-Añonuevo, Ohsako & Mauch, 2001). In the 21st century, lifelong learning has become an essential guiding and systematising custom for people. It is recognised as a vital instrument which allows education and employment to confront numerous existing as well as evolving challenges. Since information and communication technologies (ICTs) invaded in the cultures and communities, the role of lifelong learning has augmented significantly. Besides, globalisation has generated procedures which make the learning of new skills and abilities of supreme importance (Medel-Añonuevo, Ohsako, & Mauch, 2001).
Due to this reason, I always attempt to learn in order to stay up to date with the latest development in the society. Lifelong learning is highly required in professional life since there is a requirement for skilled employees in every organisation. Since leaving the school in the year 2009, I have continued my learning throughout university as well as during my professional life. I have also learnt through several training programs. The most important benefit of lifelong learning is development of transferable skills which can be utilised during the entire career life.
In broader terms, transfer of learning occurs when formerly learned knowledge and abilities impact on the method in which new information and competencies are learned and performed. In other words, transfer is the procedure of utilising knowledge or skills in a new and diverse background. In present times, the changing characteristics of workforce and new understanding in the field of technology have resulted in shifting of awareness regarding education. Gradually, the emphasis of education has shifted from education to learning and the individual learners are nowadays better equipped to transfer their learning for solving new problems (Justice, Rice & Warry, 2009).
The transferable skills range from communication ability to other technical skills. During my career life, I have acquired numerous transferable skills. During my internship in Bahrain Parliament, I acquired communication skills. I had realised the concept of public spiking and it helped to develop my communication ability. I was also trained in the customer service department in Alsafeer Travel and Tours Company. I learnt to manage the complaints of customers and to satisfy their requirements. This training helped me to gain customer relationship management skill. At present, I work at Alhoora and Gudhaybiya Charity fund where I am in-charge of organising trips and events. This job has also helped me to acquire leadership skill and teamwork ability. Furthermore, I had also learnt English language skill during my educational life in the United Kingdom (UK).
Justification of Chosen Career
The career goal which I presently seek is self-employment. I desire to expand the family business internationally and to gain more success. The reason for selecting self-employment as my career goal is that it will help to make me a responsible person from the beginning phase. Besides, considering my learning characteristics and personality styles, if I select self-employment as a career, I can have abundant opportunity to introduce new ideas and thoughts in my business and to apply any kind of changes in the traditional business practices, which might not be possible in other organisations.
Throughout my life experiences, I have acquired numerous transferable skills and I would be able to employ them effectively in the selected career. The transferable skills I had gained throughout professional life have provided me the confidence to explore new avenues in terms of the business opportunities and to expand it globally.
The report has provided significant knowledge regarding my personality and learning styles. Different tests such as VARK analysis, Honey and Mumford test and Belbin Test among others provide me the opportunity to recognise my learning preferences along with my personal strengths and limitations. With these different analytical techniques, I have understood my areas of improvement and the way to further enhance my personality as well as skills. Success in professional life requires lifelong learning. Effective lifelong learning can help me to maintain proper attitude to deal with any kind of situations that may appear in my professional life. Besides, it will also help me cope up with the changes of society and business environment.
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