Making your learning work for you

“Personally I am always ready to learn, although I do not always like being taught.”

Winston Churchill

A key aspect of Development Everywhere is the emphasis that is now placed on you the learner. To make the most of the opportunities that present themselves within these webpages and more broadly in your day to day experiences try and consider the following three statements:

  • What am I interested in (What have you identified in your SRDS? What would help you progress your career? What might enable to do your job better/ more efficiently? How can you meet more/different people?)
  • What motivates me (e.g. goals/deadlines, rewards, recognition, being able to do my job better/ more efficiently etc)
  • How I will do it (what learning methods do you prefer, how can you learn and develop at work, who can you learn from?)

Understanding how you learn

If you are not sure about the learning methods you prefer then spending some time identifying your learning preferences may be a useful exercise. The following link takes you to some information about Honey & Mumford's learning preferences and learning styles which may be helpful.  If you want to find out your learning preference, we have some copies of Honey and Mumford’s Learning Style questionnaire which, if you contact us at staffdevelopment@sheffield.ac.uk, we can send out to you.

Make the most of your SRDS conversation and the SRDS form to capture the development that you want to undertake and think about how you can make the most from the different learning opportunities that there are.

Developing new skills or building on the skills you already have takes effort, patience and practice. Development is often fine in theory but the practical element of putting new skills into practice or trying to change how you respond to certain situations is the challenge. Thinking about how you are going to motivate yourself through a period of change and encouraging yourself to take risks by doing something new/differently will help you. There are many different ways you can motivate yourself; setting yourself targets/goals, holding yourself accountable to someone else, setting aside time in your diary, breaking the task down, thinking about the benefits of achievements, being clear about what you want to achieve, rewarding yourself with whatever takes your fancy! Whatever motivator you identify make sure that it’s one that you have control over.

"One must learn by doing the thing; for though you think you know it, you have no certainty until you try"

Sophocles

Want to find out more? Have a look at this website.

Planning your learning

Whatever stage you are at in your career, you can take steps to plan your learning. If you are new in a role, your learning may be focussed around getting up to speed quickly with your new objectives and tasks. You may be thinking about the next step in your career plan, so your learning may relate to expanding or increasing your skills. Or you may be taking on something completely new, so need to learn a whole new set of skills.

Giving consideration to your learning needs is an important part of the SRDS process. As part of the SRDS review conversation, you should talk about your development with your reviewer, and use part D of the SRDS form to record your plans. If you are new to the University, and haven’t had your first SRDS review, part D of the form would be a really useful template to use to get you thinking about the development you need to get off to an effective start.

A useful place to start planning is to think about the following:

Where am I now? Where do I want to get to? What do I need to do to get there?

There are plenty of resources both within the University and outside to support your planning, and these are linked to from the list on the right.