Understand
how to develop study skills.

Study skills are an effective
essential one needs to achieve, and to be successful with their work on a
course. There are a range of different components that help individuals learn
different techniques throughout the course, carry out assessments and work set
and to make the most out of managing time and applying it to workload. People
learn differently, study skills can help them chose the most effective way to
complete their study. Examples of ways people learn is through auditory, visual
and kinaesthetic. Finding the right study skills that are best suited to a
leaner can improve learning by aiding motivation, challenging the learner to
find different ways to learn and apply them to situations, to find which is the
most effective for them. It is important to improve and develop study skills in
the Early Years sector as practice within the Early Years changes due to new
discoveries in research and ideas that apply to Children’s development,
learning and play.

Time management and organisation is
one use of study skills, having efficient time management will help one balance
coursework and socialising/relaxation. A timetable or planner can keep record
of important dates such as deadlines for assignments or other commitments, this
can also help the learner prioritise workloads.

Using resources and accessing
information, another study skill that can help the learner use a range of
resources for research to find information. This can include visiting the
library, using the internet or observing work settings. Reading is a hugely
important part of effective study as a majority of study is reading vast
resources. This can include reading books, journals, reports, documents and
internet accessible information.

 Reading while studying is different than
general reading as the information needs to be properly processed and analysed.
This information can then be noted down for the learner to reflect on, this goes
on to the next study skill of note-taking.

Note-taking is a simple, important
method that can be used in multiple situations. These situations can include
lecturers, discussions, handouts, books and internet information. These
note-taking can help write reports and assignments and help with revision.

Improving memory, as a learner starts
a new course the amount of new information being received can be quite intense
for some. If the learner can show an understanding of relevant information and
have opinions and ideas on this, then this should help the learners memory
improve as a study skill.

Organising information and structuring
ideas, this study skill is essential for almost all types of work. Depending on
which style of learning is best suited for the learner will affect how they
organise and structure. For example, if the learner, learns best through visual
means then they might use diagrams or drawings whereas if the learner prefers
kinaesthetic learning then they may prefer to discuss information with others.

Writing assessments as part of the
course the learner will be faced with writing projects over time. This study
skill eases the learner by having a strategy that can be applied to various
projects. Key elements of this are; plan, structure, academic style and
referencing. Participating in group work is a great study skill as it allows
the learner to be part of a team, socialising and discussing ideas, sharing opinions
and finding new views. Group work participation encourages social interaction,
promotes communication, generates creative ideas and supports personal
development. However, group work can have few problems as group members may
clash with personalities or not participate, if problems like this arise then
proper guidelines should be followed and agreed with.

Giving presentations and speaking in
public. An Early Years practitioner is faced with communicating with many
people, such as parents and carers, colleagues and other professionals. Clear
communication is essential for being a practitioner. When it comes to
presentations, preparation and practice will help develop and improve skills
and confidence. Rehearsal practices can improve confidence and check timing of
presentation, ensuring it fits with allocated time. Preparing for exams is
another study skill, that can be developed and improved by applying other study
skills.

 

Know
a range of study strategies and techniques

Study skills can help a learner decide
which type of learning style is best suited for them. With this, techniques can
be developed and applied, these techniques can be creative strategies to order
and organise ideas.

Brainstorming is one strategy used for
studying, it is creative and personal towards the leaner and does not need to
be understood by anyone else but the learner. Brainstorming is a way of getting
all opinions and ideas down without worrying about criticism. It can also be
done as a group exercise where different ideas are brought up within the group
which can often trigger ideas into others.

 Spider diagrams (spidergrams)  is an efficient technique used to organise
ideas and phrases and creating them into a web. Spidergrams are typically
created to span branches of a main topic. Using colours,
pictures, and simple keywords are easier to remember.          

Mind Mapping, this is
similar to spider diagrams, it is a visual map of ideas the main subject is centre,
and the learners organise their notes around the central subject. This
technique can be used as a form of note-taking or for planning as well as an
observation method while working in the Early Years sector.

Whichever way
information is collected for assignments, projects etc. It must be organised in
order that it can be understood later on, by another person. Organising
information can be done in several ways, notes can be kept in files with
dividers or different coloured paper for different subject areas, using a
sectional notebook or keeping files on the computer, each folder can be named differently
with sub folders to separate different learning outcomes within the same unit.
The notes, diagrams etc. should be laid out in a way which is easy to
understand, this could be using bullet points, highlighters, paragraphs or
numbering.

 

Structuring ideas is to
make sure that they are in a sequence that allows the ideas to be understood,
firstly, or centrally should be the main ideas that come from the information
and ideas, then the ideas that stem from the main idea that hold the most
significance, less significant ides should then be sequenced and finally the
conclusions that are made from the ideas that the learner has had. Again, using
bullet points, highlighters, paragraphs or numbering can help structure their
ideas.

 

Memorising and retaining information
is a vital skill to the course. As people have different ways to learn they
also have different abilities to remember information. Information needs to be
taken from the short-term memory or working memory and transferred into
long-term memory. This can be processed as information is repeated. Techniques
that can be used to help the process; speaking out
loud when reading can help memory then later try to teach themselves or someone
else what has been learnt. Use associations or mnemonics to remember,
this can be visualising something that helps the learner remember or by making
up rhymes using the first letter of words in a phrase.

One method that can help processing
short-term information into long-term is the Cornell note-taking system. It is
an organised systematic method that organises and structures note-taking by
dividing paper in two columns and writing notes in one column while related
questions and key words go into the other column. It tests memory as the
learner will cover one column and see if they can correctly recite the
information related to it.

According to neuroscience there are
four fundamental factors that affect memory and learning and improve them.
These factors are attention, generation, emotion and spacing. Attention is an
obvious factor for memory and learning, if the learner pays full attention to
the topics and has no distractions during this time then they can fully focus
on information which in turn, makes it easier to memorise. Generation is
summarised as the links and associations a learner makes from the information
learnt to their own memory. If the learner can keep a positive emotion while learning,
then they will be able to retain the information and remember it more easily.
Spacing is associated with the time used to learn information, neuroscientists
believe that remembering information is best done over a spaced period rather than
being overwhelmed by information in a short period of time.

Information can be identified from a
variety of sources, these sources can include books, journals, documents,
reports and more. The learner would have to identify, select and evaluate and
this information. This can be done by looking at the reliability, the relevance,
the accuracy and the date of publication.

Checking and considering reliability
of information is important. Information gathered from the internet needs to be
checked for reliability, even if it looks reliable it can be the opposite. The
learner needs to check the relevancy of information and ensure it applies to
the topic and subject area. This also applies to ensuring that information is
relevant towards the aim and stays focused. This contributes to checking the
source, where it was published and what the information specifies on. This is
because certain information may not be relevant or apply to UK Early Years
study. Assessing the accuracy of information is vital, checking where the
source has gathered the information and if it is fact or opinion. Checking the
publication date is also important as there is always new findings and studies
within the Early Years, the most recent publication date is the most reliable
and relevant. If sources are 10 years old or older they are considered out of
date and not accurate anymore however legislations are still used.

 

To avoid plagiarism a learner should
ensure that they, clearly state the sources that have been used in their work,
to not use word-for-word the work of others without identifying where the
information is from and passing it off as their own. Plagiarism is a form of
cheating and has serious consequences, it is using the work of someone else and
using it as your own. To avoid plagiarism the leaner must ensure and
acknowledge the sources and reference them. References need to include authors
name, place of publication and publication date, text title, and page numbers. Another
way to avoid plagiarism is for the learner to develop their own writing style.
This can include paraphrasing but not too much as this can still be classified
as plagiarism. Developing a writing style will also encourage an individual to
become more confident with their own work.

 

Know
the factors that affect study

There are many different factors that
can affect the learner and their study. The learner must take these factors
into consideration when studying so that they can learn.

One factors that can affect study is
the learner’s environment. Environmental factors can affect study as; it may
not be the most appropriate place to learn and study, it may not be a suitable
time, the resources needed may not be assessable and there might be
distractions that keep the learner from studying and from being motivated into
completing study. When it comes to the learner’s environment they need to take
into consideration a few aspects first. These aspects can be; where does the
learner feel most comfortable when studying, do they need to be alone, do they
need total peace and quiet or do they prefer to work as a group with others and
have discussions about the topic. Environmental factors can also help the
learner realise when is the best time for them to study.

Learners may prefer a quiet
environment, as external noise can be very disturbing when trying to study. People
talking, television or radio can easily distract, however many people find a
background of the right kind of music can be quite therapeutic and help with
study. If music is used, it is preferable to use earphones and carefully chosen
music. Learners need to find the most comfortable place for them in the
environment to conduct study, whilst a bed or a comfy armchair may be too
comfortable for study, a comfortable chair at a desk or table can make a big
difference to the length of time the learner is able to study. Ensure the room
is heated to a comfortable temperature, too cold and the learner will not be
able to concentrate, too hot and they will feel tired and lethargic. Ensure
that they have enough room to be able to spread their work out in an organised
fashion is required, so a large desk or table is beneficial. The study area
should be well lit, this will allow work to be carried out without straining
eyes or getting headaches.

Tools and resources needed is also a
factor that affects study. For example; making use of all resources around the
learner so that they can complete study. This can be from their own knowledge,
researching on the internet or reading books and reports, and from discussions
with tutors and colleagues. One of the most popular places to study is the
library, where books and computers are on hand to use, should they be needed.

There are multiple personal matters
that can impact the learner and affect their study. These matters include,
family and work responsibilities, health and well-being, distractions, support
and planning. If the learner has a support system in place, then this can help
them balancing their social life and commitments with their workload. Support
systems can include family and friends, colleagues and tutors and other support
groups.

Due to family and work
responsibilities this can be a key factor that contributes to impacting the
learner’s study. This may be due to commitments that are needed elsewhere. It
is vital that the learner can balance their workload and study with their daily
routines and life responsibilities.

It is important that the learner takes
care of the health and well-being. If the learner does not ensure that they
stay healthy by eating regular meals, drinking plenty of water and getting
enough sleep every night. Then they can become ill and decrease their stamina.
If the learner’s stamina is low, then this can influence their ability to
concentrate and therefore not learning to the full potential that they can.

Stress can be a common major factor
that can affect the health and well-being of a learner. Stress can arise when
there are deadlines, when the learner needs to arrange and organise their
studying and balance it with personal life. Stress can also be related to
anxiety and lack of confidence. As a learner it is important that they try and
manage stress, this can be achieved by having a clear balance to study and
personal life. This can be achieved by ensuring that the learner has a social
life, exercises regularly, has comfort and rewards. Individuals can identify
which way to cope with stress is best for them, if stress gets out of hand then
the learner needs to make sure that their tutors are aware so that they can
help and if need to, seek advice. The learner can avoid stress by making sure
that they time management and good organisation skills as this will help them
stay on top of their work without becoming overwhelmed.

Planning can help the learner study
effectively. To have proper planning the learner must ensure that they organise
their work and have proper time management. They also need to make sure that
they understand and accept the expectations that is needed from them and their
work, have a timetable that is made up of all assignment deadlines which they
check regularly so that they know when is the most appropriate time for them to
start planning and working on them. The timetable can also be made up of a
weekly timetable however this means that the learner will have to plan in
advance. If the learner ensures that they have all resources needed, then this
will help with planning. Setting goals can also help the learner focus on
study. Rewards are also an effective way to complete study as the learner will
be motivated to finish study so that they can treat themselves.

Study support is crucial to the
learner so that they can learn as much as possible which furthers their
potential of passing the course. The learner must ensure that they attend
sessions organised by the tutor that will help their study. Attendance allows
the learner gain primary knowledge and be taught it. This also gives the
learner an opportunity to ensure that they understand information by asking
questions and discussing topics.

Procrastination is a massive
distraction that can affect the study of a learner. Distractions can include a
variety of features that cause the learner to lose focus. Procrastination can
be slightly different as it can be features that the learner would rather focus
on. To avoid procrastination and distractions the learner must keep themselves
disciplined while working. If the learner sets themselves targets and good time
management then they should be able to keep distractions minimal.

Some factors that may affect my own
study is family responsibilities and health. I look after my younger sibling
when my father is at work and when I have later shifts, ensuring that she gets
to school on time and is ready and ensuring that I am back in time after work,
so she can be dropped home. This is a commitment I have taken because of the
love I have for my family despite being estranged from one parent. Distractions
can also factor towards this as there is not really an appropriate place for me
to study, however I try best to study regardless of these factors. Due to health-related
reasons I have had times where I have been absent. Stress will be my main
concern while studying due to my suffering with anxiety which can affect my
physical health too, this can then lead to more absent days causing a vicious
circle. I get financial support from my father as well as emotional support
from him along with my partner and other family members. I fully love the job
role I have been employed as and this motivates me to study to the best of my
ability.

To optimize study a learner needs to
discover and understand which is the best way they learn, once they do this
this they can thrive in their study time. One of the first theorists that
influenced many others on his learning styles work is Kolb. Kolb believed that
learning styles developed due to experience exposure.  One popular theory that was influenced by Kolb
and identifies learning styles is Honey and Mumford.

According to Honey and Mumford there
are four learning styles; reflector, theorist, activist and pragmatist. The
reflector is a learner who prefers to observe rather than experience although
they can collate information and analyse it. A theorist learner likes theorise
information and understand it and tends to have logical thinking. An activist
learning style is when the learner prefers to get actively involved with work
and learn through the experiences they make whereas a pragmatist learning style
is those who prefer tactical work and make links between theories and
techniques and applying them to practice. 

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