Self-reflective Evaluation: My Learning Style– Strengths and Weaknesses
Human beings are unique, therefore each person possesses different learning strategies. In this report, I will outline some of my learning strategies and expound on their strengths and weaknesses and how they can affect the success of my education. Before outlining my learning strategies, it is important to mention the three most important stages that different individuals use during a learning activity. Research has shown that people learn by first perceiving of information, and then they process the obtained information and then they can organize and present what they have learned. When individuals gather information from the surrounding, they mostly used their senses such as visual, auditory, smell, touch, etc. Such method of learning is referred to as perceived mode of learning. Once the information has been acquired through the senses as explained above, the individual then processes the information mentally either by grasping the information, ordering the information or engaging with the information. Grasping of the information mainly involves memorizing while when a person engages with the information, they question what is given so as to get the underlying meaning. The last stage to show what one has learned is by organizing and sharing the information to an audience (Ames & Archer1988, p260). Some individuals like to use images while others are comfortable when presenting verbally.
My learning strategies, Strengths, and Weaknesses
One of learning strategies that I employ in my learning is the social learning method/ interpersonal learning which involves studying in a group. The importance of group discussions is that different views are shared, and one is about to view a concept from various angles which enhance better understanding. Also, in group discussion people are subjected to positive criticism which also facilitates better grasping and understanding of information. I have found that a social learning strategy also, assists learners to acquire other necessary skills in life such as the development of communication skills, boosting of one’s self-esteem and also helps an individual to organize is work. However, a social learning strategy is time-consuming and can be a waste of time if you had not done some personal studying before coming to the group discussion. The strategy can also be misleading because some of the team members believe that their opinions are better and try to force the other members to believe them even though they are not factual. However, the advantages outweigh the disadvantages, and the strategy has helped me improve on communication skills and how I interact with other people.
The other learning strategy that I employ is the mathematical approach that involves the use of logic interpretation of acquired information. To build on this method, I use Gibbs reflective cycle which encourages learners to think in a systematic way in a learning activity. The cycle is as shown below;
Figure 1. Gibbs reflective cycle (Schmeck 2013, p.20)
This learning approach begins by acquiring the information and then expressing once feeling about the information. The information should then be evaluated and analyzed and then conclusion and recommendations made. The importance of using a mathematical approach as a learning tool is that one is able to recognize pattern quickly and connect content to a given piece of information. Also, by using the mathematical method, learners are able to classify and group information. Once information has been groupedtogether, it becomes easy to interpret its contents. Therefore, mathematical strategy is a very useful method of learning that breaks down useful information into small categories that are simple to understand. The mathematical strategy also involves the use of numbers which are easy to get and manipulate. Another crucial thing, I have liked about the mathematical approach is that the learner is able to create learning procedures that can be used in the future. Also, these procedures can be modified depending on the liking of the person. It is worth to mention that using the mathematic approach in learning; I have been able to identify flaws in the information and make necessary corrections. However, the mathematical strategy has its weaknesses. One is that the methodology is time-consuming and tedious. This is because one has to scrutinize the underlying information using a set of scientific and mathematical principles.This strategy has helped me in my learning in that I can have a deeper meaning and understanding of information. However, in most cases, I find that I do not complete all the literature provided by the teacher by the end of the semester because as mentioned earlier the strategy is time – consuming.
The other learning strategy I use is the visualapproach. Just as the saying says, a picture is worth a thousand words, I understand concepts better through images pictures and experiments. The importance of visual learning strategy is that it is an easy method of learning and leaves lasting mental pictures. Thus, the learner cannot forget what he learned either in class, seminar or in laboratories. Another importance of visuals is that the learner is able to interpret complex concepts with the help of a diagram. Also, the pictorial representation of information encourages students to keep on reading or learning in lecture. Thus, visual learning technique makes learning to be an enjoyable activity. However, I have found that the use of visuals for learning purposes does not allow the learner to get the deeper meaning of a concept. The strategy has, however, helped me to improve my grades since I have been able to interpret ideas that seem complex using visuals.
It can be concluded that different individuals have different learning strategies. Some people may possess various techniques while other may have quite a number. However, learning techniques can be acquired through learning.For my case, I mainly use the three strategies explained above i.e. social, mathematical and visual learning strategies. The strengths and the weaknesses of the strategies are as explained above but the techniques have been useful in my learning.
- Ames, C.,and Archer, J., 1988. Achievement goals in the classroom: Students' learning strategies and motivation processes. Journal of educational psychology, 80(3), p.260.
- Schmeck, R.R. ed., 2013. Learning strategies and learning styles. Springer Science & Business Media.