Essay On Independent learning
Furthermore the Teaching and Learning in 2020 Review Group (2006, 6) provide a definition of personalizing learning, which could be adapted into a perception of independent learning, “Learners are active and curious: they create their own hypotheses, ask their own questions, coach en another, set goals for themselves, monitor their progress and experiment with ideas for taking risks, knowing that mistakes and ‘being stuck’ are part of learning”.There are many benefits and barriers to the implementation of independent learning, specifically within the context of the initial training of Communication Systems Operators including the delivery of training at the strategic level, the role of instructors and their relationship with students, the learning environment and resources for the promotion of independent learning and the potential effects of independent learning for students.This essay examines these areas, and shows that many of the barriers for the implementation Of independent learning are relevant for Operators; however, in discussing the benefits it appears that independent learning should play a role in the initial training of Communication Systems Operators. To enable effective independent learning, not only students require the necessary skills, but teachers have need of skills and strategies to promote independent learning (HE 2012). Teachers require the support of the establishment providing appropriate guidance to managers and head cheers within a whole-school policy (Meyer et al, 2008, 3-4).
To discern the role of independent learning within the Communication Systems Operator training both benefits and challenges must be realized. The benefits of independent learning are easily recognizable and have been well documented, the majority of benefits for students include, higher academic performance, choosing their own learning style, increased motivation and confidence. This allows students to set their own goals and reinforces what has been learnt in the classroom environment (Meyer et al, 2008, 6; Ceil Language support Network, 2000; candy, 1991).Residential based whole-class learning has a number of barriers to independent learning, Meyer et al (2008, 1) describes One particular barrier as learning being restricted due to being teacher directed. A further barrier described by L akin (201 3, 103-104) are that students may not have the accessibility needed to access information, as the student may not have the cognitive level required in making sense of the information. Finally students may not have the correct study skills required, being relatively young, spending less time studying, as with more mature students that have a higher degree of autonomy (Morris, 01 1, 64).Therefore, this can be reflected in the initial training of Communication Systems Operators, which is residential, whole-class learning with an average age of 19 years (DISCS JUST, 2011, 60).
Key to the promotion of independent learning is the implementation Of whole-school policy at the strategic level, which currently does not exist in any of the mandated policy documentation that govern the initial training of Communication Systems Operators (Meyer et al, 2008, 8). A paper by DISC’S (2013) indicates the challenges to the approach of affordability in times ofDefense financial austerity and how the establishment will move toward contain joyously improving training outputs, by updating training using new technology and learning strategies with the reduction of a number of instructor posts. Now is potentially the time to invest in independent learning as by doing so it lessens the need for students to have direct instructor intervention, with students finding and using learning materials independently creating more cost-effective instruction (Twig, 1995).Not only is the support of the establishment important, but both the allegations of the teacher and the student to successfully promote independent learning (Meyer et al, 2008, 2). To overcome some barriers with independent learning, the teachers must understand that independent learning does not undermine their role as instructors, they must overcome the necessity to direct learning in the traditional method and be open minded to new developing methods of learning (Meyer et al, 2008, 8).To achieve this approach instructors need to be trained in the skills, moving from time taken to usually instruct to time and effort to support the student in learning (Await and Knight, 1996, 73). Particular skills needed for promoting independent learning are not available to Royal School of Signals instructors.
Mandated training through DISCS management policies require instructors to complete the Defense Train the Trainer Instructor course conducted at the Army Staff Leadership School where emphasis is placed upon Duty of Care and not the promotion of independence (MOD, 201 2; MOD, 2011).Independent learning not only requires the relationship between the students and instructors, but the physical learning environment, its structure and atmosphere must support independent learning (Keenest, 1987, 21). A study by Broad (2006, 130) posed the question of which environment best gives the most independence, finding that class-based environments are bound by the teacher and resources available, giving less opportunities for independent learning than if learning was conducted in an open environment.It is the author’s experience with the learning environment of Communication Systems Operators, finding that attending classes and studying are a regimental activity, something they are forced to do. The students must go to lessons, do revision and learn the lesson, as this is what they are paid to do. Many will feel that the students have limited control, which is in the hands of the instructors and in order to become independent learners, students need to develop uncontrolled motivation; developed by instructors, allowing students to set themselves particular goals for the present and future (Skunk et al, 2007, 160-161).Included within the learning environment is the availability of resources and the strictly controlled time environment for Communication System Operators undergoing training.
All facilities for learning are strictly controlled due to both the sensitive nature and set times for access, not usually outside f the delivered daily timetable placing boundaries for learning (Macbeth, 1993).Macbeth (1993) also describes the importance of the ‘behavior setting’ where students have a place where conduct is expected for learning, for example a library, that has the available resources in a central location to which resources are unobtainable elsewhere. Unfortunately the nature of the resources and the practical requirements of the operator course could not allow students to have unrestricted access to sensitive material; students must be supervised (DISCS, 201 1).This is not to say of course that those heretical study requirements could not be met, with some investment of changes to the learning environment within the Royal School of Signals, introducing a central location for the fulfillment of independent learning. The importance of independent learners cannot be fully described within the limits of this essay; however its value goes beyond that of learning alone, society values individuals who can freely respond to change, being able to better accomplish their roles as workers when they are independent learners (Keenest, 1987).This ability to adapt is important to the role of Operators in avian to perform acquired skills in all weather conditions, by day and by night and essentially during military Operations in environments of conflict, both as an individual and as a member of a team (Capability Directorate Information, 2012). Increase motivation, confidence and the ability to set goals, further emphasis the conditions to which Royal Signals Operators are more than capable of fulfilling and therefore achieving learner independence could play a vital role in the application of training.
This however cannot be achieved without the motivation of students, which plays an important role Mega et al, 2013). Students that are used to the classroom setting, can find that it provides the required motivation, structure and accountability, where in the initial training environment newly inducted soldiers have been motivated from the day of joining by instructors and not reliant on self- motivation in the achievement of goals. Without this influence students may abuse the freedoms that would be associated with the introduction of independent learning, making the implementation impossible (Meyer et al, 2008, 7).It is clear, therefore that independent learning can not only be valued by society, but the training of Communication System Operators, but this requires the skills to be effective in ensuring that the benefits are not abused. The relative young age of students could have an impact on the effectiveness of autonomy, with students being used to whole-class learning. In addition to the student, the school requires a whole-school policy assisting instructors to promote independent learning, providing those essential skills that are yet to be invested in.Furthermore, cost reduction should be considered, especially in times of austerity for the military producing cost-effective instruction, educing the over reliance on teacher lead instruction.
Finally change is required to promote the learning environment, providing key resources for theoretical elements of the training. Barriers will always exist for any establishment to promote independent learning, however; further studies to identify the potential barriers and benefits will allow recognition of the importance of independent learning for the initial training of Communication System Operators.