Chapter 6 – Self-reflection on own learning 6.0 Introduction At the end of this study, itis very important to have a self-reflection part as it contributes to ourgrowth from past experiences. (Cottrell, S. 2010 p 189) focuses on theimportance of self-reflection at a university level as it’s the place wherethinkers are born. They are expected to evaluate their own performance and drawconclusions on what went well or wrong in their learning process and if thereis room for improvement. Brown, Bull and Pendleburry (1997) defined learning asthe changes in terms of knowledge, skills, understanding and attitude acquiredthrough experience and reflection about that experience. The aim of thischapter is to show the evolution of the learning development process throughoutthe Master of sciences Course as well as while conducting this dissertationthesis.

We will try to touch most of important point acquired throughout thisjourney. 6.1 Learning theories style The learning process differsfrom person to person which makes it particular andunique. The way peopleperceive and process information is vast and fluctuates fromeach individual which makesthe process of learning particularly a special one (Payneand Whittaker, 2006). TheLewinian experimental learning model breaks down learninginto four stages cycle. Thestages are described by David Kolb (1974) and include aconcrete experience,followed by observation and reflection on that experience leadingto the formation of abstractconcepts and generalizations which are then used to testhypotheses in futuresituations, resulting in new experiences.

   Figure16: A simplified version of Kolb’s experimental learning cycle (Moon, 1999, p.25)Honey and Mumford (1992)based on the model of Kolb’s learning cycle, identified anddeveloped a psychologicalframework of individual learning styles that compete withKolb model:   Figure17: The Learning Cycle, Peter Honey and Alan Mumford  _ ActivistIt emphasizes on experiencesand focuses on feeling as opposed to thinking._ ReflectorIt focuses on deeplyunderstand situations or ideas throughout observing anddescribing them._ TheoristIt can be considered as thecounterpart of concrete experience and this is because itrelies on thinking insteadof feeling._ PragmatistIt is basically based onpractical situations rather than a deep understanding, andfocuses on the practicalside (doing) as opposed to the analytical side (observing).

Learning style fluctuatesfrom each student in the educational field. The overall students in a classroomare different from each other as there might be some that are more likely tolearn through interactive activities such as simulation, problem solving andgames, while others arekeener to learn with the experience of workbooks to becompleted under plannedinstructions. On the other side, we can have students who prefer to study ontheir own or work in groups, and this preference will depend on their pastgrading experiences. After taking the LearningStyles Questionnaire (LSQ) and in accordance to the observed personal studypatterns and the theory mentioned above, the researcher has the strongest tendencyto the reflector learning style. This result is mainly due to the researcherown learnt experiences and for the simple reason that listening, observationand data collection undertaken in this study and his life style drew him moretowards that result.

McCabe (2014) in this view expresses that individuals withareflective orientation hasthe ability to look at things from many perspectives and alsoto appreciate differentideas and points of view, which throughout the time makes themas social learners. Eventhough the researcher adopted mainly the reflector styleapproach, he also tried toacquire the ability to learn in all four styles in order to benefitfrom the skills andqualities that each one offers. 6.2 Master of Sciences The Master course undertakenduring this past year was very challenging for the researcher given that theresearcher has a considerable experience in the educational field as well aswork field. There were many differences in the academic requirements and standardsoffered by the Irish educational system in comparison to his own previousexperience. The complexity of the task resided in the writing styles andreferencing process differences. The program was short, diverse and extensivewith a disciplining and demanding critical sense of analysis and synthesis.Majority of the course was a self-learning process which improved the confidenceand the critical thinking abilities of the researcher.

To be able to cope with therhythm of the assignments and exams, extra efforts were required and needed to clearthe modules undertaken. The Master program has provided a basis upon which tobuild a career in the financialservice sector. As a Master graduate, the researcher will beable to combine, newknowledge with past experience and apply it to newcircumstances.As a foreign student theMaster program gave the researcher the opportunity to create an internationalscope regarding the educational, cultural and professional areas. Theresearcher needed to developskills to integrate to a whole new cultural educationaldiversity that was presentsince the first days of the program. Fellow students withdifferent backgroundsprovided the researcher a broader and wiser way to look atsituations. Altogether, thisinternational experience has influenced the researcher tolook after new employmenthorizons under the area of Finance.

 6.3 Learning Outcome The MBA postgraduateexperience program at DBS and writing this dissertation enabled the researcherto acquire and develop various qualities and skills which can be appliedadvantageously to achieve both personal and professionalgoals. The skills which werefound valuable by the researcher are as follows: · Language skillsThe course of studiescompleted allowed the researcher, who is a non-native speaker ofEnglish, to significantlyimprove the knowledge of English. Many oral presentations,assignments completed duringthe course and an international environment, due to thecontact with students ofdifferent nationalities, helped to further develop written andoral competences;Particularly, this dissertation as final assignment and the scientificliterature reviewed in thiscontext sharpened the investigator’s academic language skillsand lay the foundation forlifelong, autonomous language learning. · Working in TeamsThe Master course hasenabled me to work with people from different backgrounds.

From the groupassignment to the activities undertaken in the different events societies, Ihad the chance to work and socialize with several people with different workstyle. It helped me understand the meaning of teamwork, essence of unity asstrength and that team group is a knowledge river linked to each other  · AdaptabilityComing to Ireland was a bigmove as the weather conditions here are extremely different from the weather inmy place. The life style also was diverse as coming from a Muslim country, wehave traditions and national holidays which were not recognized here andspecifically the Ramadan (fasting month) had been the hardest ever experiencedfor me. Getting to know people from diverse cultures and traditions helped me understandthings better and have an open and different perspective about the world. Thishelped me to make friends and quickly get acquainted with people who helped me throughoutmy learning period. · Interpersonal skillsThe dynamic and interactiveformat of the asterprogram, accompanied by thesubstantial number of group projects and presentationscompleted greatly benefittedthe development of the researcher’s interpersonal skills.

Both verbal and non-verbalcommunications, stress-management, listening andnegotiation are all skillareas that were abundantly put to the test and further developedin the process of thecourse. This acquired strong interpersonal skill set will help theresearcher to create moresatisfying interactions in all environments and thereforesignificantly future impactsuccess of both professional and personal life. · Research SkillsFrom the mere beginning ofthe Master, the researcher had to deal with a variety ofassignments in most of themodules and each academic content being very broad andquite objective. Theextensive type of investigative assignments considerably improvesthe author researcher skillsas his previous experience dealing with such research waslimited. Activities such asanalysis of study cases, individual essays and groupinvestigations have highlyinfluenced on the improvement of his research skills.The dissertation assignmentwas the most difficult task in the Master program whichequally represented thesingle most important source of knowledge acquisition andskills development of theentire course. Thus, the outcome generated in the dissertationis expected to serve as anadditional benefit that is likely to help fostering theresearcher’s professionalcareer.

 6.4 New Horizon The Master experience hadwithout doubt been unique and added incommensurablevalue to the researcherpersonal, professional, and academic life. The thesis conductionprocess such as the finaloutcome program has added a tremendous impact to theresearcher way of thinkingwhich makes him believe that impossible is possible whenyou work towards it,properly plan it ahead and keep that in mind.Disappointment anddifficulties were met which made it stressing but ended up in apositive manner. It isdefinitely one of the most important and significant step evertaken by the researcher andhas also highly influenced the researcher to be extra-motivated to always goahead and keep looking forward to bigger challenges comingup in the new horizon. REFERENCES Cottrell, S. (2010) Skills for Success,Personal Development and employability. 2nd Edn.

Palgrave Macmillan.Honey, P. & Mumford, A., (1992),’The Manual of Learning Styles’. Third ed. Maidenhead:Peter Honey.Brown, G., Bull, J.

& Pendleburry,M., (1997), ‘Assessing student learning in highereducation’. First ed. New York: Routledge.Kolb, D., (1994), ‘ ExperientialLearning: Experience as The Source of Learning andDevelopment’.

New Jersey: Prentice-Hall. Chapter 6 – Self-reflection on own learning 6.0 Introduction At the end of this study, itis very important to have a self-reflection part as it contributes to ourgrowth from past experiences. (Cottrell, S.

2010 p 189) focuses on theimportance of self-reflection at a university level as it’s the place wherethinkers are born. They are expected to evaluate their own performance and drawconclusions on what went well or wrong in their learning process and if thereis room for improvement. Brown, Bull and Pendleburry (1997) defined learning asthe changes in terms of knowledge, skills, understanding and attitude acquiredthrough experience and reflection about that experience. The aim of thischapter is to show the evolution of the learning development process throughoutthe Master of sciences Course as well as while conducting this dissertationthesis. We will try to touch most of important point acquired throughout thisjourney. 6.1 Learning theories style The learning process differsfrom person to person which makes it particular andunique. The way peopleperceive and process information is vast and fluctuates fromeach individual which makesthe process of learning particularly a special one (Payneand Whittaker, 2006).

TheLewinian experimental learning model breaks down learninginto four stages cycle. Thestages are described by David Kolb (1974) and include aconcrete experience,followed by observation and reflection on that experience leadingto the formation of abstractconcepts and generalizations which are then used to testhypotheses in futuresituations, resulting in new experiences.   Figure16: A simplified version of Kolb’s experimental learning cycle (Moon, 1999, p.25)Honey and Mumford (1992)based on the model of Kolb’s learning cycle, identified anddeveloped a psychologicalframework of individual learning styles that compete withKolb model:   Figure17: The Learning Cycle, Peter Honey and Alan Mumford  _ ActivistIt emphasizes on experiencesand focuses on feeling as opposed to thinking._ ReflectorIt focuses on deeplyunderstand situations or ideas throughout observing anddescribing them._ TheoristIt can be considered as thecounterpart of concrete experience and this is because itrelies on thinking insteadof feeling.

_ PragmatistIt is basically based onpractical situations rather than a deep understanding, andfocuses on the practicalside (doing) as opposed to the analytical side (observing).Learning style fluctuatesfrom each student in the educational field. The overall students in a classroomare different from each other as there might be some that are more likely tolearn through interactive activities such as simulation, problem solving andgames, while others arekeener to learn with the experience of workbooks to becompleted under plannedinstructions. On the other side, we can have students who prefer to study ontheir own or work in groups, and this preference will depend on their pastgrading experiences.

 After taking the LearningStyles Questionnaire (LSQ) and in accordance to the observed personal studypatterns and the theory mentioned above, the researcher has the strongest tendencyto the reflector learning style. This result is mainly due to the researcherown learnt experiences and for the simple reason that listening, observationand data collection undertaken in this study and his life style drew him moretowards that result. McCabe (2014) in this view expresses that individuals withareflective orientation hasthe ability to look at things from many perspectives and alsoto appreciate differentideas and points of view, which throughout the time makes themas social learners.

Eventhough the researcher adopted mainly the reflector styleapproach, he also tried toacquire the ability to learn in all four styles in order to benefitfrom the skills andqualities that each one offers. 6.2 Master of Sciences The Master course undertakenduring this past year was very challenging for the researcher given that theresearcher has a considerable experience in the educational field as well aswork field. There were many differences in the academic requirements and standardsoffered by the Irish educational system in comparison to his own previousexperience.

The complexity of the task resided in the writing styles andreferencing process differences. The program was short, diverse and extensivewith a disciplining and demanding critical sense of analysis and synthesis.Majority of the course was a self-learning process which improved the confidenceand the critical thinking abilities of the researcher. To be able to cope with therhythm of the assignments and exams, extra efforts were required and needed to clearthe modules undertaken.

The Master program has provided a basis upon which tobuild a career in the financialservice sector. As a Master graduate, the researcher will beable to combine, newknowledge with past experience and apply it to newcircumstances.As a foreign student theMaster program gave the researcher the opportunity to create an internationalscope regarding the educational, cultural and professional areas. Theresearcher needed to developskills to integrate to a whole new cultural educationaldiversity that was presentsince the first days of the program. Fellow students withdifferent backgroundsprovided the researcher a broader and wiser way to look atsituations. Altogether, thisinternational experience has influenced the researcher tolook after new employmenthorizons under the area of Finance. 6.3 Learning Outcome The MBA postgraduateexperience program at DBS and writing this dissertation enabled the researcherto acquire and develop various qualities and skills which can be appliedadvantageously to achieve both personal and professionalgoals.

The skills which werefound valuable by the researcher are as follows: · Language skillsThe course of studiescompleted allowed the researcher, who is a non-native speaker ofEnglish, to significantlyimprove the knowledge of English. Many oral presentations,assignments completed duringthe course and an international environment, due to thecontact with students ofdifferent nationalities, helped to further develop written andoral competences;Particularly, this dissertation as final assignment and the scientificliterature reviewed in thiscontext sharpened the investigator’s academic language skillsand lay the foundation forlifelong, autonomous language learning. · Working in TeamsThe Master course hasenabled me to work with people from different backgrounds. From the groupassignment to the activities undertaken in the different events societies, Ihad the chance to work and socialize with several people with different workstyle. It helped me understand the meaning of teamwork, essence of unity asstrength and that team group is a knowledge river linked to each other  · AdaptabilityComing to Ireland was a bigmove as the weather conditions here are extremely different from the weather inmy place. The life style also was diverse as coming from a Muslim country, wehave traditions and national holidays which were not recognized here andspecifically the Ramadan (fasting month) had been the hardest ever experiencedfor me. Getting to know people from diverse cultures and traditions helped me understandthings better and have an open and different perspective about the world. Thishelped me to make friends and quickly get acquainted with people who helped me throughoutmy learning period.

 · Interpersonal skillsThe dynamic and interactiveformat of the asterprogram, accompanied by thesubstantial number of group projects and presentationscompleted greatly benefittedthe development of the researcher’s interpersonal skills.Both verbal and non-verbalcommunications, stress-management, listening andnegotiation are all skillareas that were abundantly put to the test and further developedin the process of thecourse. This acquired strong interpersonal skill set will help theresearcher to create moresatisfying interactions in all environments and thereforesignificantly future impactsuccess of both professional and personal life. · Research SkillsFrom the mere beginning ofthe Master, the researcher had to deal with a variety ofassignments in most of themodules and each academic content being very broad andquite objective. Theextensive type of investigative assignments considerably improvesthe author researcher skillsas his previous experience dealing with such research waslimited. Activities such asanalysis of study cases, individual essays and groupinvestigations have highlyinfluenced on the improvement of his research skills.The dissertation assignmentwas the most difficult task in the Master program whichequally represented thesingle most important source of knowledge acquisition andskills development of theentire course. Thus, the outcome generated in the dissertationis expected to serve as anadditional benefit that is likely to help fostering theresearcher’s professionalcareer.

 6.4 New Horizon The Master experience hadwithout doubt been unique and added incommensurablevalue to the researcherpersonal, professional, and academic life. The thesis conductionprocess such as the finaloutcome program has added a tremendous impact to theresearcher way of thinkingwhich makes him believe that impossible is possible whenyou work towards it,properly plan it ahead and keep that in mind.

Disappointment anddifficulties were met which made it stressing but ended up in apositive manner. It isdefinitely one of the most important and significant step evertaken by the researcher andhas also highly influenced the researcher to be extra-motivated to always goahead and keep looking forward to bigger challenges comingup in the new horizon. REFERENCES Cottrell, S. (2010) Skills for Success,Personal Development and employability. 2nd Edn.

Palgrave Macmillan.Honey, P. & Mumford, A., (1992),’The Manual of Learning Styles’. Third ed. Maidenhead:Peter Honey.

Brown, G., Bull, J. & Pendleburry,M., (1997), ‘Assessing student learning in highereducation’. First ed. New York: Routledge.

Kolb, D., (1994), ‘ ExperientialLearning: Experience as The Source of Learning andDevelopment’. New Jersey: Prentice-Hall. Payne, E.

& Whittaker, L., (2006),’Developing Essential Study Skills’. Second ed.

Harlow:Pearson Education Limited. Payne, E. & Whittaker, L., (2006),’Developing Essential Study Skills’. Second ed. Harlow:Pearson Education Limited. 

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