1.1 Cunningham1 has defined self-managed learning as “…idealised adult action learning”. Therefore, self learning is a process where the learner develops their learning goals, decides on strategies to make it happen, identifies resources needed to achieve it and adopts the process to evaluate their achievement.
Self managed learning can only be effective if a person has the ability to independently decide about their learning and can manage this without much institutional support. However, anecdotal evidence suggests that most people, though understanding the need for such learning approach, are unable to identify and manage their learning without guidance and support from an institution. Hence, people go to an institution to learn.
However, It is the responsibility of the learner to take charge of their learning. In an adult learning environment, where most learners have been out of touch with learning for a while, it is important that the tutors initially provide hands on approach to guide the learners. Gradually, ‘tutor dependency’ reduces and the learner becomes more self dependent, starting to manage their learning more effectively. Self learning process can be facilitated through research, using online tools such as web logs, wikis, search engine facilities, use of social software and other multimedia tools such as audio and video equipment.
1.2 Lifelong learning is a process that takes place throughout an individual’s life based on their life experiences, interaction with others and range of different circumstances which are used to acquire knowledge. It is, defined as the “ongoing, voluntary, and self-motivated pursuit of knowledge for either personal or professional reasons’’[2).
There are various methods of learning, which can be termed as ‘life long learning’. These are:
• Home schooling : People learning at home rather than at an institute.
• Adult education : Enrolling in an adult learning course to gain formal qualifications for work or leisure.
• Continuing education : Courses to gain further knowledge without getting any formal qualification.
• Knowledge work : On-the-job training but can also include practical courses for professional development.
• Personal learning environment: Using a range of sources and tools including online applications.
Lifelong learning is the most effective way to enhance personal and professional development. Therefore, all the above methods should be encouraged and used to gain relevant knowledge in relation to an individual’s goals and aspirations. A method used by a person depends on what their personal learning goals are, and on the answers to the key questions of what, when, where, how and why.
1.3 The benefits of self managed learning to individuals and organisations are many fold. The key benefits are :
• Ability to choose the content :Allows people to pick and choose what they are going to learn, and who they are going to learn from, depending on personal level of knowledge and preferences.
• Determining the schedule : Allows people to adapt learning process to their personal agenda, without depending on time schedules imposed by others.
• Learning with passion : Topic is chosen based on what the learner wants to learn, making the learner more engaged and the learning process more enjoyable.
• Sense of accomplishment and satisfaction : As the learner has chosen the topic, it provides greater degree of satisfaction and a sense of accomplishment within learners.
• More productive life : As it is a learner guided process, there is more passion and commitment within the learner about their learning, enhancing their chances of securing more expertise in the area.
• Develop expertise and skill : After gaining skill and expertise in the chosen field, a person is more likely to become an expert in the area, with others seeking their expertise and be willing to pay for it. 2.1
Since leaving school, I have worked within the catering sector all my working life, initially as a General Assistant in the kitchen, helping cook and chef. However, through my competence and performance, I was able to gradually rise to the position of Head Chef, with people working under my supervision. This allowed me to have experience of managing people effectively in a challenging fast moving environment.
In addition, I was able to gain adequate knowledge and understanding about various health & safety guidelines through relevant training, including gaining relevant qualifications. I was able to comply with the professional standards for a Chef through the training I received. Also, working closely with the management, I was able to understand fully the key aims and objectives of the business and focused on ensuring that through my work, I help the business to fulfil them.
It is important for a restaurant to provide good quality food and customer service – the two key aspect for such business. Unless the quality of the food and the level of customer service is to their satisfaction, customers will not come back, which is vital for a business. So, my role as a Head Chef is crucial to the success of the company. Since the restaurant is doing well, I feel confident that I have contributed towards the achievement of the company’s aims and objectives, complying with the professional standards required for my job.
2.2 Having worked in the kitchen all my working life, I would now like to have a change of career and move to management, where I would like to manage the whole business, either by setting up my own restaurant or be employed in a restaurant owned by others. In order to help me achieve my aim, I would need proper qualification, understanding and knowledge about how to manage a restaurant efficiently. Therefore, my development needs are as follows :
• How to devise an effective business plan • How to prepare a comprehensive sales and marketing strategy • How to be a competent business manager • How to manage a business efficiently and profitably
In order to acquire the knowledge required to achieve those aims, I need to enrol in a business course which will not only allow me to have the relevant knowledge but would also enable me to have thorough understanding of these areas, resulting in a qualification.
In addition to the areas mentioned above, I also need to focus on some other areas, such as enhancing my literacy and numeracy skills as it would be necessary if I am to manage to restaurant. I also need to improve my social and communication skills too, which is vital for a business within the hospitality sector.
2.3 Since I don’t currently have any formal qualification other than GCSE, the only way for me to achieve my goal of enrolling in a course to acquire relevant knowledge and gain qualification would be to enrol in a course that does not have an entry requirement of any formal qualification and would accept someone with only GCSE. So, I started researching about various courses available that is relevant to me and is available for people who only have GCSE. I have identified that the Business Management HND is the best course for me as it offers all relevant aspects to help me achieve my developmental needs while allowing people with only GCSE to enrol.
Therefore, I have enrolled in this course. However, I am seriously considering taking this further and go into further studies on business management, either through university or an informal course in continuing education, which may not result in a formal qualification but would provide me with the knowledge I need to achieve my goals. I feel that enrolling in the Business management HND is the first step towards achieving my aim of acquiring all relevant information and gain relevant qualifications regarding running a successful restaurant business. I also researched about courses to facilitate my aim of enhancing my literacy, numeracy, social and communication skills and have identified some of the courses that will be relevant to me and would assist me in achieving my goals.
Courtney from Study Moose
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