Week 6 Reflection

When I initially started the course, I had a few basic understanding of some of the skills and ideas involved in being an in(ter)depenent learner, but never really had a chance to try and practise and improve these skills. I had previously worked in group projects at school and such but never really to a level that was as challenging as to make me really use skills that I for instance have acquired during this course, such as synthesis and evaluation. This course has given me a much deeper understanding through each weeks assignments, which each week built from the last, and took me through different stages and skills that were involved in independent learning. It has helped me gain a new insight into the traits of being a good in(ter)dependent learner and also how hard it can be to master these skills.
I think that the course has helped me show for starters that I can be committed to finishing things! Many of the tasks were time consuming and did require me to manage my time well to fit them into the week and complete the tasks. It required a great level of extra reading and research and it has helped me build on drawing from other accessible resources to help aid my task. It has further helped me realise that everything can be critically analysed and that I should be careful to assess the extent that I can trust a source by inquiring it’s reliability and validity.
I will finish the course coming away with many new skills that will most certainly add to value to my future work. I hope to study pyschology at university in a few years and these skills especially critiquing and analysing research and sources will hopefully greatly help me in this subject as much research is involved. Generally I feel that the course will help equip me better for further education as I can now identify how I feel I work best and also my strengths and weaknesses. So for example I feel I am good at assessing validity and reliability but I am not so good at drawing overall conclusions. All in all I am glad I took part in this course as I know that the skills that I take away will be very beneficial and I believe I now have a head start compared to others in tackling university and further education.

Week 5 : Synthesis and Evaluation

Personally, I found this week quite difficult as I feel I am much better at breaking down sources finely than combining them to formulate and create fuller understanding. After tackling this task this week I definitely realise why this skill is such a valued quality seeing as it is hard to really grasp an understanding as to what is involved in synthesis and evaluation, but nonetheless most certainly it will be a key ability that will be needed as I continue through my education. We were asked to work in groups of three this week and create a short video reflecting on and synthesising our ideas on the chicken and the egg. I believe we managed to be co-operative and each took a different section to do, which was decided quite easily, which made the task easier to tackle. I found that I was unable to do a video as the technology I had did not permit me to film a video or at least add a commentary over some images. Despite being fraught with technical difficulties, I was able to create a powerpoint online to add to the video, to explore the responses to the dilemma and draw from various other reading and resources I had at my disposal. I think it was much more useful that we each had a specific section to do as we could focus much more individually on our areas, before coming together to gather all our ideas to create the video.
For my section I used an online powerpoint maker which cycled around the arguments and then came to a general statement which led to the conclusion provided by another member of my group. I combined ideas from the original article and then added to their ideas from other articles I had read and other websites that debated the topic. This weeks task was quite hard as it involved mixing some of the skills we already had and then being able to implement them as well as being able to present your findings, all the more collaborating as a group as well.
I found working in a group particularly useful this week as it is much easier to start once someone gets the ball rolling. We each managed to choose a section without any disputes which meant we could get started without too much worry on our own little bit. I think it was good that we just each got a specific part to produce in the assignment as it is much easy to work within constraints and knowing exactly what we needed to have in our sections than if what we had to do was ambiguous. It also means that hopefully the parts that we each bring to the assignment will not be too repetitive and provide a broader understanding.

Week 4: Reading and Analysis

This week we were asked to read a page about the almost infamous dilemma ‘What came first the chicken or the egg?’ and then anaylse and critique the contents of the article. I think it was interesting having to read the article very closely and extracting the main points and key words to critique and building on an argument to say why say one idea is inadequate with only the information given. Furthermore, it was great we could also draw from the skills we had to use last week in assessing validity and reliability. Also, I think being able to identify and critique something that in this case, has no real definitive answer is a very good starting point for developing these skills as you have to really break down the ideas and go beyond just stating whether one aspect is good or bad. Taking each individual section and then pointing out each area of criticism was somewhat time consuming as one flaw will lead to other questions, however I believe that this is a very beneficial skill to develop for many future situations.
I think working with a partner this week has made the task a lot more manageable, for one its easier to collaborate ideas in a smaller working group than a large one I believe. We worked well together and each equally contributed to the article critique as we had managed to discuss how to handle this task. My partner had started it off with writing the introduction and then an opening line into the critique section. I wrote down all my ideas and other research I had done and we both just continued to add onto each others work to provide us with our assignment. I believe due to drawing from both our ideas that we’ve got a good in depth range of criticisms and that our introduction and conclusion give us a clear insight and also understanding of the topic, but also how hard it is to really reach a completely solid conclusion.
So far the course has helped me understand more what it is like to be an independent learner. This week working in a pair has helped me realise I probably work best in small groups which will be key in aiding to my future learning. Also, the course has helped me broaden the use of available resources, for instance this weeks assignment, doing further research to either add to the critique or to affirm that my own argument was valid. Being able to take initiative and collect further information will be an essential skill to become an in(ter)dependent learner rather than constantly relying on others to provide you with the necessary information.