When I started my first year at university back in September I was eager to see what the next year had in store for me. I will admit that I was unsure about professional skills because I wasn’t able to see how useful it would be to me. I knew the lectures would be based around the essential skills needed to complete this degree successfully, but from the first impression, lectures on topics such as ‘how to do exams’ didn’t seem all that useful to me. I will however admit that I was wrong about this. Professional skills delivered lectures on how to use google scholar, how to reference correctly, business skills, and much more. All of which have been or will be essential to successfully completing this degree and going on to have a successful career in the future. When I started this degree in September I had no idea google scholar even existed, let alone how to use it. Receiving a lecture on this was undoubtedly helpful. Although I had referenced in the past whilst writing my A-level history coursework, receiving a lecture on how to reference correctly was also useful because I previously referenced in the Vancouver style, however it is common practice to reference in the Harvard style at Writtle University. Even to this day I still do not feel like I have developed this skill enough and think I would still benefit from another lecture on referencing correctly. Finally, I found the business skills lectures delivered interesting and beneficial because I have no previous knowledge or education in this subject and business skills will play a huge part in my success in the future. I liked that the lecturers were delivered by someone who is out in practice and knows first-hand the sort of skills that will be important to me and my business in the future.
Moving on to the Professional Skills eportfolio assignment, I had no idea just how much creating a blog reflecting on my first year at university would help me to develop as an individual and as a professional. Investigations into the effects of reflection show that reflection is important for personal and professional development. Reflection has been shown to improve students’ knowledge, awareness, and control of themselves and their classroom practice (Baird, et al., 1991). As I mentioned previously in ‘Moodle Task 3’, reflecting on what I did well has allowed me to notice my strengths, which in turn has helped to increase my confidence. However, reflection has also allowed me to pin point my weaknesses. Reflecting on my experiences highlighted the things that I needed to practice and improve on, which has allowed me to find the most effective methods of completing tasks, which has made me a better student. Creating this blog has also allowed me to develop my creative skills which will benefit me when I need to make a website for my own business. I feel that writing ongoing reflections throughout the year, especially the piece on an ‘Animal Welfare Issue’ has improved my academic writing style, although this is something I would like to continue developing because to perfect a skill sustained practice is necessary (Willingham, 2004).
Two of the modules I was particularly enthusiastic about studying was Mammalian Anatomy and Physiology and Functional Anatomy because I find learning the biology of the body so fascinating. I was also looking forward to the dissections because I enjoy a practical element of learning. I also found that the practical element encouraged and improved my learning. Research suggests this might be because in our everyday life we experience constant multisensory stimulation which has likely caused the human brain to evolve and develop to learn and operate optimally in multisensory environments (Shams & Seitz, 2008). The practical dissections allowed me to see and touch the organ I was learning about rather than just hear information about it, creating a multisensory environment which is more effective for learning. I also liked that the Functional Anatomy Workbook was made up of multiple small tasks as mentioned in my ‘Reflection on my Functional Anatomy Workbook’. This was because it meant that I had to keep up with my notes and learn the information as I went through the module, which prevented me from putting off learning the material and then having to learn the whole module last minute whilst preparing for the exam.
I was also eager to start learning the Biomechanics module, again because of my passion for science. I was looking forward to the challenge that I knew would accompany learning the physics behind movement. Although I enjoyed the lectures delivered to me in this module, I found the most enjoyable and memorable part of this module to be the assignment. Having never studied biomechanics before, I started my assignment with limited knowledge on my given topic, which was daunting at first. I mentioned in my ‘Reflection on my Biomechanics Assignment’ that the more information I read, the more I felt like I knew nothing about biomechanics. This was worrying at first, however instead of letting the worry and stress get the better of me I tried to channel it into motivation to learn and understand the concepts behind biomechanics so that I could achieve a good result in the exam. This seemed to work as I scored 90% on the biomechanics exam which was a result that I was extremely proud of considering I started the module with no knowledge on biomechanics. I was however, slightly disappointed with the mark that I received for my assignment, although writing a reflection on this really helped me to understand why I didn’t achieve a higher mark and helped me to learn from my mistakes so that I could do better next time.
Finally, going back to Professional Skills I feel that creating pieces of work such as my ‘Personal Development Plan’ and ‘Business Case Study’ allowed me to clarify my future goals and plan which actions I must take to achieve these goals. I was encouraged to analyse my strengths and weaknesses which has allowed me to continually improve myself. Forming a clear goal with a plan on how to achieve this along with creating a study on another successful business similar to my own aspiration has kept me motivated throughout the year.
Baird, J. R., Fensham, P. J., Gunstone, R. F. & White, R. T., 1991. The importance of reflection in improving science teaching and learning. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 28(2), pp. 163-182.
Shams, L. & Seitz, A. R., 2008. Benefits of multisensory learning. Trends in Cognitive Sciences , 12(11), pp. 411-417.
Willingham, D. T., 2004. Practice Makes Perfect—but Only If You Practice Beyond the Point of Perfection. Ask the Cognitive Scientist.