The learning journal consists of my personal reflections on events in the workplace and on how I have tested new ideas from studying the module materials like Topic Guides in my work. It also consists of implementations of work based objectives or inquiries, plans for development of future work practice, shows how I have applied reflective thinking frameworks as I conducted my work based inquiries. Firstly, I would focus on the cycles of work-based inquiry on Time Management. Currently, I am undertaking trade training and representing the Army Martial Arts team. Adapted from TMA02 Task1(15/12/2013):
Time management has always been an ideal topic of interests for me as it is fundamental factor which aids learning process in the workplace. Managing is evidently an effective technique as it maintains time appreciation and resources which aids in the production of positive results. Adapted from TGF Yellow(15/12/2013):
(Doran, 1981, p. 35-36)SMART Framework
S – I will have respective schedules for studies, work and sports planned out. By doing so, I will be having more time, achieve my set goals with more focus and produce better results too. M – I will reflect daily on my list of schedules and tick them off. If for any reason, I lack behind the schedule, I will ensure prioritising and spending time accordingly. A – If I could finish my workload as planned out, I would be reasonably well ahead of my assigned date. This would give me more time to spend with my family especially with 2 year old son.
R – I would be able to meet my goals set by myself. Not only will there be more family time to spend, I would also be eligible for my next promotion in good time and a step closer to becoming eligible for the Commissioned Officer course in the Army if I complete my OU degree. T – I am planning from the start of week 5 of BU130 till the end of the module. The framework has shown some effective results ever since and I am spending more quality time with family as well as coping with studies and training sports wise.’’ Journal(15/12/2013):
Essentially, considering one of my workplace inquiries – Time Management, I am doing an Apprenticeship course plus OU modules, maintaining my fitness and representing the Martial Arts Team too. I have a son to look after at times and sometimes I struggle to make time for anything. (Simmering, 2014)I have been facing difficulties but after reading the article of the Topic Guide on Time Management from Reading 3 (The Open University, 2014a), I used the new ideas in conjunction with the application of the SMART framework. This made my schedule more practical and manageable.
I needed to outline the problems that I would face manage with my trade training and OU studies. I felt that it is difficult to start out and concentrate to get things done according to the set programme. (Simmering, 2014)Time management is testing as it requires motivation and discipline to work efficiently. It was easy to extend beyond schedule as procrastinating has been difficult to avoid. Adapted from TGF Green(29/01/2014):
At times, I would have a responsibility of looking after my 2 years old son as my wife who works part-time doing her night shifts straight after my work. Just recently, I had to take my son to the A&E Department because he started having breathing problems for 2 days and we are regularly administering his doses at the given timings. The following day, as I returned to my training, my NVQ course instructor came to me and told me to speed up to catch up with the programme schedule or he would mark the particular practical task a fail if not handed in time. I felt really upset because I thought he was being unreasonable and unfair but I had no choice so I hastily worked on my task and managed to complete it in time with an average score. Journal(21/01/2014):
I have completed the introduction and incident section and I will be able to progressively focus. However, it has not turned out as planned on some areas, particularly, in my course where I have been struggling to catch up with my other classmates. Moreover, I will also have to take days off from the vocational course to train for Army Martial Arts Competition. Plus, I know that I will have more workload piled up from the time loss from Martial Arts training as my apprenticeship deadline is on the 18th of March. Unexpected incidents have caused me delays making it difficult to follow the schedule. Ideas(22/01/2014)
Using the stages of Kolb’s learning cycle, we could learn to Reflect from Concrete Experience like the incident mentioned above and Generalise to put it in Action. (Kolb, 1984) Journal(25/01/2014):
I found that reflecting from ideas tested is a brilliant way of learning as it teaches me to work effectively by generalising and putting it to action. I noticed by using the four stages of Kolb’s learning cycle, it does give a broader view of the learning process.
Adapted from TGF Green(29/01/2014):
I have tried the time management schedule as planned out with achievements. However, I have had lagged behind schedule due to unexpected problems that crops up every now and then. Currently, I have cut short my breaks and worked harder to catch up with time by half, which is about an hour, daily. I thought cutting my breaks shorter has worked effectively and I am also able to be a step ahead. Journal(29/01/2014):
I thought if I could do it differently, I would change my ways or improve to work quicker and catch up with the programme. It seems to work better each day as I am speeding up progressively in doing other project work and practical assignments. I am able to spend ample time on my TMA03 assignment as well. Framework for evaluation(29/01/2014)
I have chosen the Pedler’s framework of bringing our feelings into our reflection According to Pedler et al. 2001 stats that it helps us to rationalise one’s thought and various ideas that could be used to improve their actions and performance in difficult situations. Taking emotions and feelings into account and analysing situations through questioning and response. It is basically learning through reflection. Our feelings – I felt disheartened by the way the instructor who unreasonably told me that I could fail the task. I had no options but to continue my work with speed as I know that arguing with him would not have got me anywhere. I am glad that I managed to pass it though.
Our thoughts and ideas – My thoughts are to give a critical review of my schedule and allocate ample time for assignments and project works. I might consider cancelling some Taekwondo classes and start completing tasks faster. This will also give me extra time for my family as well as keeping me ahead of things to come. Our action-tendencies – Following strictly with the deadline will help keep myself on track with everything. I have been struggling to meet the deadline but will persevere to achieve them. As I cannot afford to lose any more time and make it a habit. Journal(20/02/2014):
In addition to using the Kolb’s learning cycle, I thought the Pedler’s framework would work together. So far, results have been excellent as I could practise and maintain schedule overall. This supports my Self and Career management well. Journey Reflection(28/02/2014)
In summary, I thought the process of reflecting from the beginning was really challenging and a difficult one because lots of changes were made to achieve the result wanted. Sometimes, it is not possible to control everything as planned and adjustments have to be made along the way. I thought that I had to transform myself doing this module to become better at managing and organising my time. Word count: 1313
Arney, E. (2011) BU130 Writing for work and study, Milton Keynes, The Open University. Arney, E. (2012) BU130 Learning Contract Guidance, Milton Keynes, The Open University. Arney, E. (2013) BU130 Study Guide, 7th edn, Milton Keynes, The Open University. Doran, G. T. (1981) There’s A S.M.A.R.T. Way to Write Management’s Goals and Objectives, Management Review, vol 70, no. 11(AMA FORUM), pp. 35-36. Kolb, D. (1984) Experiential Learning, Englewood Cliffs, NJ, Prentice Hall. Pedler, M., Burgoyne, J. and Boydell, T. (2001) A Manager’s Guide to Self Development (4th edn.), Maidenhead, McGraw-Hill. Ramsey, C. (2010) BU130 Introducing Reflective Learning, Milton Keynes, The Open University. Simmering, M. J. (2014) Time Management – Reference for Business, (2nd edn) [Online], Encyclopaedia of Business. Available at http://www.referenceforbusiness.com/management/Str-Ti/Time-Management.html (Accessed 15 December 2013). The Open University (2014a) ‘Reading material 3’, Topic Guide 1: Time management [Online]. Available at https://learn2.open.ac.uk/mod/oucontent/view.php?id=372553§ion=3 (Accessed 15 December 2013).
2. Reflective Report
Corresponding to the Time Management which gives support to the learning development in the workplace, the Self and Career Management, is fundamental in ensure relevance in the chosen pathway. It has to be made certain that the individual is not being trained or forced into something that is irrelevant. The importance of the Self and Career Management is stressed in the Learning Contract under Section 1 – Possible learning topics: ‘’Likewise, self and career management comes into what the individuals’ capabilities are and how one can establish their aims to achieve their goals. Without learning the appropriate skill or having the relevant qualification, it does not help for the assigned tasks. Hence, I would ensure that the courses and experiences needed are attained according to my career path.’’
Having acquired 8 years of service in the British Army and experienced various dilemmas, the economic and financial constraints have significantly affected the Regular Army Structure as a whole down to the hierarchy of ranks from 102,000 to 82,000 (The Guardian, 2014). Colleagues who were highly professional and skilled are forced into changing their trade skills or made redundant because of the non-availability of the quota and relevance in trade skills required including expenditures. Moreover, with pay freeze and staff retention and cut backs, it has been ever more difficult for serving soldiers. In order to ensure job suitability, one has to be competent with a relevant qualification and experience. Therefore, ideas generated from sources such as Topic Guide 3: Self and Career Management Readings 5 and 6 materials were used to adapt to such changes. (The Open University, 2014b)
At the moment, I am undertaking a vocational, NVQ level 3 course in order to be more competent and qualified as a senior tradesman with acquired knowledge to secure my profession and develop personally.
(The Open University, 2014b)Additionally, I also obtained several ideas from Readings 5 and 6 materials and they are:
– The skilful use of the self
Strengths and weaknesses
Self-knowledge, self-esteem and self-confidence
Framework for reflection
The reading material ideas, utilised in conjunction with the stages of Kolb’s learning cycle, we could learn to Reflect from Concrete Experience like the incident mentioned above and Generalise to put it in Action. (Kolb, 1984)
The ‘Kolb’s experiential learning cycle’ is to be used for reflective learning on our own circumstances. This model enables one to breakdown situations into a clearer more structured way. This framework allowsassessment of a particular situation and reflection of oneself and experiences which directs into putting actions to practical adjustments
Concrete Experience –
I have planned out my vocational pathway to promotion and tried the Self-knowledge, self-esteem and self-confidence to discover my potential capabilities and limitations (Bourner, 1996). However, I realised that sometimes I am not so confident with my given task even though I had the subject knowledge.
I need hone my weaknesses which will boost my self-esteem and practise with confidence in any given situation.
It was because I had a vocational learning gap for 2 years and had few exposures. Therefore, I had to practice more which could obtain me to double promotion if I get a distinction and recommended.
(Bourner, 1996)Hence, whatever the circumstances, I must manage the changes meaning innovating and improving the standards and quality of work in order to achieve distinction and be capable of reaching my own prospective pathway.
Framework for evaluation
Adapted from TGF Green:
I have chosen the Pedler’s framework of bringing our feelings into our reflection (Pedlar et al., 2001) It is stated on (Pedler et al., 2001) that the framework helps us to rationalise one’s thought and various ideas that could be used to improve their actions and performances in challenging situations. Taking emotions and feelings into account and analysing situations through questioning and response. It is basically learning through reflection.
Our feelings – I thought that having seen some of my colleagues made redundant, I felt disheartened in some ways. I knew that if I had to secure my job position, I would have to move on with strong mindset and set goals. I managed to be safe as for now plus got myself loaded onto a mandatory vocational course which will qualify me for next promotion. Our thoughts and ideas – My thoughts are to be more decisive of my qualifications that I strive to acquire and making sure my options are available according to my experiences and knowledge gained. Ideas are taken from as many resources available especially from Reading materials from the Topic Guide 3 of Self and Career Management. This will put me on track that will ensure a stable career and perhaps give me better prospects in the field of business studies (The Open University, 2014b).
Our action-tendencies – It is very simple to lose focus and interests during some point of performing on the course or even give up on the qualifications. Therefore, one must have self confidence, strong willed and persevere in order to overcome such weaknesses. One must also learn relevant skills needed. I have learnt that Self and Career Management that the crucial to keep an individual’s competency updated and experiences gained appropriate to my career pathway and also keeping opportunities available. *Adapted from the Learning Contract, under Section 3 Learning Objectives.
Self and Career Management
(Doran, 1981, p. 35-36)Developing and maintaining records of achievements, qualifications for future planned pathways. S – Gain relevant qualifications and experiences and also recommendations. This will create foundation to secure my current position giving better opportunities too as I will also be completing my Apprenticeship – Fabricator (NVQ Level 3) in 14th of March. M – Every week, I will critically reflect on areas covered and if I am struggling, I will concentrate more to improve my weak areas, and record everything done to date.
A – I aiming to achieve a distinction (above 85%) in my Apprenticeship in order to be recommended for Clerk of Works and also pass BU130 module with flying colours at the end of March. R – I would follow the organised path chosen which avoids confusion and distraction plus produce results. T – I started as of 2nd November till the 18th March to acquire as much qualifications and experiences as possible to improve my career.
In overall, I have been able to adapt ideas from resources such as the reading materials from the Topic Guides and BU130 module books with the help of classmates and Ms Joyce (Tutor) in the TGF discussion forum. Essentially, I am more confident on dealing with situations and coming up with solutions to tackle daily problems along the way. I am able to gauge my own capabilities and push myself to enhance my personal development and have better job prospects by using the SMART framework for further future development.