Monday, July 2, 2018

Ask the Experts - Study Tips

6 Study tips to succeed

As the CEO of Mantra Training & Development for the past 10 years I have been heavily involved in VET (Vocational Education and Training) for over 15 years. I have seen many people succeed in their learning and many people just quit, before they got the support that they needed, if only they asked for what they needed.
As a kid my Father would always say “You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink” This is true but I have to ask if it was shown how to drink would it have had a better result?
You may ask why we need to have study tips, well, this is easy, the statistics that we look at around enrollments, retention and progress down to successful completion and the results tell the story. Now I won’t bombard you with numbers, but I will tell you what we see, those that enroll and have a clear plan and the right support succeed, it really is that simple. 

If you fail to plan you plan to fail – Jim Rohn

Tip #1 - Make a Plan

 A plan is very individualised, it’s about what works for you given your lifestyle and commitments. What do we mean by study Method? This is the method of which you choose to study, Online, Face to face, distance based or a combination of 2 or more methods.

Online (E-learning) – This is a great way to learn as you can study in your won time, this is great if you are self motivated or have a good internet connection and for some people they don’t even have a computer, so this option may not be the best choice.

Face to Face – This is a great way to learn if you need more interaction and you get benefit from the group activities and discussion, The interaction and hands on is great for those learners that need to see the practical application in a group setting. Some people may get bored with the structure where others need to set days to attend classes.

Distance based learning -  If you live remotely this may be your only option, or maybe your lifestyle lends itself to distance based, be sure to identify what support is going to be available.
Before you make the plan as these questions:

1.       Why do I want to do this course?

2.       How committed to this course am I….. on a scale of 1-10

3.       Realistically how much time can I dedicate to study each week or fortnight

4.       Do I have the resources I need to be able to study, Library, internet, computer……

5.       Do I know how to study, research, take notes (so I can read them later)

6.       Do I know someone who is good at this? Maybe they could give you some tips.

Once you know what mode you can start to plan the best ways for you and understand what support is available and how to access this. Answer these questions before you go on!


Tip #2 - Ask for support

This may seem simple but a lot of our students start out and won’t ask for help. They feel like they shouldn’t need it or feel like they are asking dumb questions. This is why we constantly remind students that we are here to help. Once someone gets the help they need they can then move forward in the unit or course a whole.
Support needs look different to everyone but here are some of the most common that we come across.
·         Asking for support – This is a big one as many don’t seem to ask
·         Time to check in, this could be weekly or fortnightly
·         Additional tuition support at scheduled times
·         Attend additional study days
·         Identify skills gaps and address those with some video support or other reading
·         Talk to your trainer about issues stopping your progress

Tip #3 - Figure out your study Zone

What is a study zone you may ask, well this may look different for many people, but it can be the place you study, the time you study and other things that help you study. It can take up to 45 minutes to get in the zone and this can vary depending on the individual and other factors effecting life. Lack of sleep, poor focus, being hungry, feeling anxious and many other variables.
Ask these questions;
·         Am I more focused in the early morning or later at night or at times during the day
·         Do I have what I need to be able to effective in my study
·         Am I focused on my study or distracted and how can I minimise distractions
·         Do I like to study with music
·         Do I want to be part of a study group
·         Do I need an accountability buddy (This can be just committing out loud to someone)
·         Like going to A Dr or a Dentist you have to be there on time, make an appointment for study and focus on that time for that one task
Now go forth and create a study zone, for me I study best in the early morning when its quiet, I have my books and a time set that I will study. I like to be warm and have some light music playing that is more zen music than hit songs. One of the more important things I do is set it up the night before so I’m ready to get in the zone as fast as I can.

Tip #4 - Study Groups

Study groups are really beneficial. It allows you to bounce ideas off others and also allows you to brainstorm ideas and complete group activities if this is allowed. When you attend classes, you can speak to your trainer about a study group and they can encourage others to join in. Here at mantra Training we offer our room if its free, if its not free on the days they can get together they all meet at the local library or a coffee shop.
Ground rules – It is important to set some ground rules about what’s ok and what’s not ok.

  • Support each other
  • Be respectful
  • Show up\
  • Call or text if you can’t make it at the last minute
  •  Take on too much responsibility each person is accountable for their own participation
  •  Be disrespectful, we all have a different view of the world and like when you are in class its about respecting diversity
  • Plagiarism or use someone else's work as your own

Tip #5 - Seek confirmation of your progress

As you work towards completing your work it’s a good idea to seek some feedback about how your doing and if you are on the right track. Feedback will be given if you have not met the criteria or have some gaps in your submission but sometimes just a bit of feedback reinforces you are on the right track.
When you know you are on the right track and progressing through your study your confidence tends to increase, and you keep progressing and momentum will continue to build.


Tip #6 - When your plan fails redesign based on the results

Sometime the best plans don’t go to plan and that’s ok. What’s important is to be able to review your plan and see what is working and what’s not working and redesign. This can be as simple as the time you study doesn’t work, or the resources you need are only available on a particular day/time.
The important lesson is to not give up, it’s about looking at your results and seeing how you can do this differently and you will get results. Set a new goal and this may include the timeline for completion. If that is out of your control then you need to remind yourself that this is a short term demand that wont last forever. When we look at a situation in a different way we can see possibility.
Goals should be SMART and this will help you design a realistic plan

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Realistic
  • Timely

I do hope these tips have been helpful and if you would like more information please drop me an email and I would be more than happy to assist. Contact Us

Donna Moulds


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