The studies of Peter Honey and Alan Mumford in the late 1970’s, identified four different ways in which people learn. An Activist likes to takes a ‘hands on’ approach and experience what is being studied. A Pragmatist wants to have a go and experiment with the results. A Theorist needs to understand why and what are the underlying reasons for the result. Finally, the Reflector, observes and considers the various outcomes before putting into practise. The study leads us to understand that there is not a singular effective study skill but study skills, that vary according to an individual’s preference and style.
‘Effective study depends on your state of mind, space, time and materials organised in the ways that best suit your learning.’ Stella Cottrell. The Study skills handbook 3rd edition pg67.
Social and cultural beliefs regarding education may also affect the foundation of an individual’s education. Gender bias may place additional limitations on a student with regards to expectations, some individuals are placed under pressure to achieve good academic qualifications whilst others may be left to their own devices and will have to find their own motivation for study.
Parental involvement and inspirational role models also have a strong influence on our ability,motivation and willingness to learn. Source: www.gov.uk research brief, institute of learning, University of London, Sabates and Duckworth, July 2009.
Let us consider ‘sound education’. In the 1980’s it was considered a reasonable achievement to gain 5 O levels. Today employers have much higher expectations, many will not consider a potential employee without a degree. It is reasonable to conclude that ‘sound education’ fundamentally changes with time.
Environment can also have a significant effect on educational achievement. A student at school can concentrate solely on studies whilst others may study from home on a part time basis if they work full time and have a family.
Age also affects the way individuals approach study, for example older people who have not studied for many years will find it much harder to go back to study than someone who has just left school.
We can conclude from the above that individuals need to adapt their style of study for it to be effective. Students of all ages also need to be willing and motivated to learn. This will have a significant impact on success even when outside influences can disrupt the foundation of our study.
Whilst effective study is extremely important it is not the sole foundation as we adapt to suit our requirements and ultimately achieve what we consider to be our own interpretation of a sound education.