Changing Learning Habits
As the arctic winds begin blowing southwards through the UK, it is a timely reminder that winter has arrived and we all have less than one month in which to set our New Year’s Resolutions. Decisions, decisions. Which habit needs changing most?
It is accepted wisdom that tiny tweaks in our habits are easier to achieve and more successful than big changes. It takes about thirty days of consciously changing a habit in order to break the cycle. These tiny tweaks can add up to a radical change in our instinctive behaviour, so the message seems to be to break down your goal into small, manageable steps and pat yourself on the back every time you knock one off the list. After all, success breeds success.
General learning habits have altered drastically in the last twenty years. Students no longer have to rely solely on visiting a library and searching for relevant information in dusty tomes; much of the information can be sourced through the internet without getting out of bed. Most no longer carry A4 notepads into lectures, rather they use a tablet or laptop to take notes. They may even use a voice recorder in order to re-listen to the information later at leisure, assuming the lecturer isn’t publishing the lecture as a podcast after the event as well. According to research published in 2012 and funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) into how today's generation of students use technology, 97.8 % had a mobile phone, 77.4 % owned a laptop and 38.1 % owned a desktop computer. With technology now playing a central role in educational study, what small tweaks can individual learners make to improve their behaviour and outcomes?
At Coracle, we believe in the importance of setting goals to use both as a target and also as a measure of recording achievement. The habit of goal-setting teaches learners the important lesson of the positive effect that planning can have on achieving the outcome of a goal; it enables them to take responsibility for their own outcomes, which in turn leads to higher motivation. Recording achievements is also a key motivating tool when studying. The practice of reflecting on what an individual has achieved can spur one on to finishing a task. On a practical level, it is useful to have a reference list of achievements when it comes to writing or updating a CV. Using Coracle’s Learning Line technology, modules can be broken down into small achievable goals and upon completion of each step, the success can be recorded as a statement, along the lines of “I achieved my target of learning X ahead of my deadline.”
I for one will be resolving to use the Learning Line to adopt a goal-setting and achievement recording habit in order to enhance my own professional development. Bring on 2014.