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Introduction This paper is aimed at analyzing where I stand as a learner, how I can enhance my learning, and how the relevant skill set can be refined. Firstly, it is important to quote the fact that this paper is not just a research to submit and gain academic marks but holds importance much beyond the academics. The importance of this paper to me is that it determines where I stand today and defines the direction for where I want myself to be some years down the road. The paper presents various tests that I conducted on myself i.e. VARK, MBTI, and Belbin, their outcomes, analyses of the outcome, and the justification based on my personal experiences and interviews from various individuals who know me to determine the trueness associated with the outcome. Later, in this research, I have taken up two advertisements, comparing their requirements with my skill-set and analyzing how further developments can be made.
Section A: Who I am as a learner 1.1 VARK Test 1.1.1 About the Test VARK is one of the many ways meant to examine the various styles associated with learning of individuals i.e. how do they learn. This test, VARK was formulated by Fleming (2001), and is based on the existing nuero-linguistics model, which was formulated by Eicher (1987). The term VARK is the compact version of Visual, Aural, Read/Write and Kinesthetic sensory means that are used for learning information in a given context. VARK test is based on the fundamental that each learner has a most preferred style of learning and a least preferred style of learning, and thus, this test is aimed at determining the same i.e. assisting the interview to recognize their respective most and least preferred styles of learning (Fleming, 2007). Following is a brief description of VARK: (Fleming, 1992, p 139)
This stands for the preferences of graphical and symbolic mechanisms for information representation. For example, using
A Aural / Auditory R Read / Write K Kinestheti c
pictures and other multimedia forms during presentations. This stands for the preferences of hard information. For example, tutorials or lectures that do not draw any diagrammatics. This stands for the preference towards the information that is printed as words. Dictionary is the perfect example fitting this case. This stands for the preference towards using and sharing experiences for learning purposes that can be either real or simulated. Examples include demonstrations, simulations, videos, movies, etc.
1.1.2 Application of the Test
As a test to determine the most and least preferred styles of my personal learning, I conducted this test on myself, to determine my own standing. The results of the VARK tested conducted on myself indicated the following outcomes as tabulated below and depicted in the Appendix A1:
Aural 8 Figure 1.1 - My Score on VARK Test Read/Write 8 Kinesthetic 7 (VARK Results (2008)) This shows that my inclination towards learning is on two styles, and high scores on three altogether. VARK describes this as a multimodal learner i.e. myself because I have good scores on three variables. Since the three variables have nearly the same scores, the VARK guide will provide an insight on the lists and combinations present in the multimodal study strategy in each of these (Fleming, 2007).
To justify the results of VARK, I reviewed my past life, learning and outcomes. I realize today that I have been getting good marks, infact very good marks from the age of primary schooling to the university standards today through the read-andwrite subjects. Whenever the instructors used textbooks and lecture notes on PowerPoint or any other mechanism, my focus was on reading the material rather than attraction towards the pictorials. Other than this, I always have had this habit of taking class notes for all the words that are spoken by the instructor and not present in the books or slides. This assisted me in improving quality of my writing and my assignments in particular. My reading strength always assisted me in absorbing rich knowledge with ease as I read across many texts like journals, newspapers, and other reference materials for doing assignments as well as for enhancing my
knowledge on a given subject. Most likely, this habit of mine has developed its strong roots since the time of my childhood and therefore, led to a high score on reading/writing aspect.
I believe I can appropriately utilize my preferred learning styles i.e. aural, read/write and kinesthetic, since an implication of these also means that I can listen and write simultaneously with complete concentration on both the things. A real life example of this is that I tend to take active notes as I attended various seminars during my academics. Other than this, I have this tendency of simultaneously making up notes and looking up dictionary. Additionally, I have also practiced using the MP3 recorder to record the lectures and then comparing-and-correcting my class notes based on the re-listening. This ensures that I do not miss out on any point and have a clearer understanding of the studied lectures. Moreover, reading aloud the summarized notes assists me in enhancing my memory.
Apart from this, I am trying to improve my visual weakness and planning to develop some ways and means for its improvement. I have been scoring quite low in mathematical subjects during my secondary school, as I found it difficult to analyze charts, diagrams, and formulae. This impact was also witnessed in the courses that have similar structural content like physics and chemistry, as I got low marks in those too. This weakness stands out particularly when at the university level, the mechanism used for teaching is via power point presentations that include flowcharts, pictures, diagrams, graphs, etc. Thus, there outstands a need for my improvement in this regard. For overcoming this weakness of mine, VARK suggests to reconstruct images in various ways e.g. re-drawing pages from memory and the
use of words as a replacement for symbols or initials. According to VARK suggestions for improvement, turning the visuals into words is another mechanism to improve my visual weakness (Fleming, 2007)
1.2 MBTI Test 1.2.1 About the Test MBTI stands for Myers Briggs Type Indicator test – a test based on Jung’s Theory of Personality Types. Katherine Briggs and Isabel Myers were the contributors towards the development of MBTI test (1985, cited at Quenk, 2000) that was meant to study the four dimensions of a personality (see figure 1.2)
The subjects, hereby, are categorized by the normative self report measure, and subsequently, accorded a 4-letter type divided into 16 personality like:
INFP -> Introvert/Intuitive/Feeling/Perceiving ESTJ -> Extrovert/Sensing/Thinking/Judging
The respondents here get to know which of the combination is their type based on the completion of a questionnaire that contains seventy-two questions having a yes or no response. These combinations are described as follows (Humanmetrics, 2008):
Extroversion/Introversion: this defines people having a psychological activities inclined to various orientations, the sources and direction of energy and expression for a person. Extroversion defines a person who is more attracted
towards the outer world, while introversion defines a person who is more inclined towards ideas and the inner reflections. Sensing Intuitive: another important aspect that dominates the personality is known as dominant function, it defines the method of information perception by a person. Sensing mainly revolves around a person’s believe that information is mainly received directly from the external world, on the contrary, intuitiveness is the quality of a person whereby the person believes that information is received from within or the internal ‘self’ like sixth sense. Thinking/Feeling: other dominant functions on the judgment preferences defines the processing skills of individuals with the information. Thinking is the process whereby a person makes a decision based on logic, while feeling is where a decision made is based primarily on emotions. Judging/Perceiving: hereby, the preference is about the lifestyle of individuals. i.e. it defines people in the manner by which they reflect the means of their interaction in the world. Judging implies organization, planning and control in events of an individual, while perception implies inclination towards improvisation and seeking alternatives.
Following is a tabulated version of the same:
1. Extraversion – Introversion (Psychological Activities) 2. Sensing – Intuition (Dominant Function ) 3. Thinking – Feeling (Dominant Function ) 4. Judging – Perceiving
Carl Jung’s typology in three criteria Isabel Briggs-Myers added fourth
(Individual Preference) criterion Figure 1.2 a Humanities criterion (Humanities 2008)
1.2.1 Application of the Test I conducted the MBTI test on myself and the outcome indicated that I have two differing personality types (MMDITM “Basic Report”, 2008). The highest percentage was for the ENFP personality type, while the second on the rank was the ENFJ (See Appendix A2). Myers and McCaulley (1985, cited at Thorne & Gough, 1991, p.92) describe the presence of type ENFP in a personality as an enthusiastic innovator, interested in people, and energetic to the point of impulsivity, alongside an individual who is an improviser rather than following a planned way of dealing with problems. Moreover, ENFJ type is described by Myer, et al (1985, cited at Thorne & Gough, 1991, p.94) as radiating warmth and fellowship, placing a high value on harmonious human contacts, appreciative of the good qualities that others have, and accepting their opinions.
The mainly different between from ENFP and ENFJ According to Jung’s theory (1977, cited at Quenk, 1999), there is a ‘dominant function’ on first two letters in the type code are much more important than the others. For ENFP, my dominant function is Intuition, i.e. orientation towards the outer world. I have always promoted the exploration of new and better ways of doing things i.e. enhancement to the present practices to uncover hidden potential amongst individuals in various situations. For instance, I like doing a wonderful presentation to attract my classmates. However, at the same time, depression, anxiety, and difficulty in simultaneously working on both work and person stress are my weak points, i.e.
where I lag. I also possess rational thinking when it comes to friendship or sentiments. For ENFJ, my dominant function is ‘Feeling’, i.e. orientation towards the outer world. I focus on and aim to build harmony in the world around me, assess the impact of my decisions on other and vice versa, and behave in a giving way to others. For instance, when working in a group format, I like to allocate and delegate work to my group-mates in accordance to their specialties and desires. However, my weakness remains that I am overly responsive to assisting others with carrying on of their projects, without their own judgment. ENFP and ENFJ differ in the facto of Perception and Judgment respectively. This preference is about the lifestyle of an individual. Both of these reflect different category related to preference depending on the lifestyle. For example, if I wish to travel, I would refer to the various sources of information and devise a plan accordingly, while, when I am to do an assignment, I would probably be inclined to use my own schedule rather than using those proposed by others. Following is a tabulation depicting the differentiation in the two types and deployed to the application of my test:
Type ENFP ENFJ
Dynamic Name Extraverted Intuition with Introverted Feeling Extraverted Feeling with
Tertiary Thinking Sensing
Inferior Introverted Sensing Introverted Thinking
Introverted Intuition Figure 1.2 b The mainly different between from ENFP and ENFJ (Quenk, 2000)
1.3 Belbin Test 1.3.1 About the Test
The Theory of Holland states that the climate of an organization is shaped by the dominant personality type of the organization to which one has to fit in for good. At a more micro level, a person would be able to perform much better if they become a fit in the team, and perform in accordance with the role expectation by the team. For example, a person can only perform a leadership role better if they have a character for it. This concept is compatible with the trait and theories of leadership. Belbin (2003, p169) defines a team role is the tendency of individuals to behave, contribute and interrelate with others in a particular manner. Belbin describes roles in a team as a pattern of behavior that characterizes one member’s behavior in a relationship to another in facilitating the progress of a team. The skills developed by Belbin team-role theory enables an individual or a team to benefit from self-knowledge and adjust according to the demands of various situations. Belbin studied the behavior of managers from all over the world. Managers taking part in the studies were given a battery of psychometric tests and put into teams of varying composition, while they were engaged in a complex management exercise. The subjects differed in core personality traits, intellectual styles and behaviors, and were assessed during the exercises. Results indicated that different clusters of behavior were identified as underlying the success of the teams. Results from this research showed that there are a finite number of behaviors or team roles which comprise certain patterns of behavior which can be adopted naturally by the various personality types found amongst people at work. The accurate delineation of these team roles is critical in understanding the dynamics of any management or work team. There are nine such team roles, clustered into three: Action-oriented roles – Shaper, Implementer, and Completer Finisher
People-oriented roles – Co-coordinator, Team worker and Resource Investigator
Cerebral roles – Plant, Monitor Evaluator and Specialist.
1.3.2 Application of the Test I applied this test to myself to determine various aspects of my behavior. In accordance to the Belbin Test results (see Appendix A3), my personality suits to various preferred and manageable roles in a team setting. As per the results, and based on my personal history as well, I am found to be an extrovert and an optimistic person; I have the sociability and adventurous sense of someone who likes to explore new fields and grounds. On my work, I have a drive and courage to overcome obstacles. Roughly I would agree with the My Self – Perception Team Role Profile. As I see myself and my workings, I witness that in a team environment, I can contribute the most in situations my special interest can be utilized i.e. in situations where there is also an element of freedom for exploration and development of other opportunities. Alongside, I am very careful and follow a step-by-step approach for doing my work. Another important point of consideration is that my extravert behavior allows me to develop new contacts, assisting me in problem resolution. For example, I can always ask a friend of mine to assist when my computer is out of order or for its maintenance. The report of the test also indicates my weaknesses i.e. my lack of drive and inability to inspire other, alongside my inability to solve group conflicts. In a group work, generally I have strong ideas, but I look at things from unitary angle when cooperation with others is needed. I am generally too much pre-occupied with my
own thoughts, and thus lag in effective communication. For instance, when someone disagreed with my idea, a feel of dislike develops in my heart unintentionally for that person. The report also suggests that my cooperation leaves me intact of my sense of personal identity, while allowing myself to develop interpersonal skills. And I need to realize that am not a person who seems to be the originator of things, at least this is something that is not visible from my character; new ideas may not always matter, and therefore, I should look towards someone who can make a contribution in this area. Alongside, I also need to be more supportive towards my group-maters, and train my thinking in a different direction.
1.4 Summary In the overall three tests, I understand that I am a Multimodal learner. I need to read and utilize the Multimodal Study Strategies that can assist me in achieving better outcome as I utilize my hidden strengths i.e. preference on my learning. In my personality, I realized that I am an extrovert; therefore I like to explore the new and better ways for doing things. In a group setting, I like to develop my rapport with people and create a positive atmosphere. Alongside, I also like to accept opinions of others, maintaining good relationships and communication within my group mates. But when it comes to the decision making aspect, I make decisions based more heavily towards emotions rather than rationally. Furthermore, when I deal with problems, I tend to be improvisatory rather than analytical.
1.5 Comment on my family and friend
Based on my findings and to have them verified, I interviewed some of my friends and my sister. Their opinions were nearly the same as the outcome of these tests, however, I was surprised to find out that they disagreed on me being an extrovert, which I truly felt that I am After looked at the psychology behind modeling and Social Learning (conformity), I realize that this is when a person learns to reproduce behavior exhibited by a model. I recall my family, and my parents in particular, discouraged me to engage or participate in outdoor activities and prohibited noise at home; they even discouraged the expression of extreme joy and always preferred soberness. Moreover, in a family that has an eastern country background and culture, people tend to reticent, constricted, obey on parents and traditional rights and themes. From year to year, I have learned to remain quiet within my home and the practice has moved to beyond my home boundaries. Though having very rich ideas that can be fruitful many a times, yet I do not share them with others. Therefore, this leads to misunderstanding and mis-comprehension about my personality. For example, if I have a brilliant idea on how to allocate work satisfying everyone, the worry within myself to speak and the resistance towards speaking loud will keep me silent.
Section B: Implication for career choice 2.1 Lifelong learning Lifelong learning is an interesting concept in the world today, essentially applicable to everyone, particularly with the radical changes coming along the job market today, and the employers looking for employees with academic achievements also being on the higher side and the need of intelligence rising from where it was earlier. Following the same, I believe I need to develop and equip myself with knowledge and transferable skills and have a proactive approach towards i.e. if a movement forth is needed towards the career. Moreover, learning can assist in building up a positive attitude, so that one becomes tougher and gains the ability to deal with the difficulties of life. Knowles (1981) states that learning is a lifelong process, and lasts as long as the life last; therefore, attitudes of individuals should be focused towards the same. I am personally in agreement with this statement. In accordance with the theory, life-long learning must at least contain four characteristics: Independent /self-directed learning Active/ motive to learn Understand the importance for life-long learning Discipline/ self reflection.
2.1.1 Adult Learning Adult learning is different from teaching children because adults have different level of motivation, various goals, expectations and experiences to a learning situation. Adult learners identify their need to know, exploring their motivation to learn, and at the same time, aiming at growth and development, through enhancement of their
learning motivation. This is based on their self-directed goals set with reference to their real-life experience and problem.
2.1.2 Application of Lifelong Learning In accordance with Wlodkowski (1999, cited at Klingensmith, 2006), a high level of motivation to learn for the adults produces dramatically higher learning results and the performance achieved. The results of MBTI and Belbin tests depict that I am an extrovert with motivation to learn from others and explore opportunities. Therefore, I can firmly state on the basis of the findings that I am a lifelong learner. I have high aims in life; as after completing my graduate degree program, I plan to do proceed with a hotel management job. This increases my requirement for knowledge in the said discipline alongside the need to improve and refine my communication skills. As derived earlier from the previous tests results, I do have the character for lifelong learning, and if I synthesize my multimodal learning style, this can facilitate further development in my career. In fact, I can acquire knowledge utilizing the three organs i.e. eyes, ears and mouth. Utilizing the visual skills to learn from what I see while traveling, meeting new people, coming across various cultures, etc. Utilizing my listening skills to learn whatever I hear in seminars, workshops, classrooms, interviews, etc. Utilizing my reading skills to understand, comprehend, and retain what I read across various texts. Be open for any new piece of knowledge or information
Sharing information, knowledge, and discussions are another important aspect of learning, since discussion assists in improvement knowledge base for all involved individuals.
Mariani suggests that a tentative definition of learning style could be the overall approach of an individual/learner towards learning, and the typical means and modes of perceiving and responding to learning tasks (Mariani, 1996, cited at Klingensmith, 2006, p 47). This definition has some important variables to be derived i.e. personality and learning strategies. According to the MBTI test results, I have an active role to play in my teams, and I take the total ownership of a learning process and become more independent learner. I can pay more attention to observe people, new things and self-reliance. At the same time, when someone tries to favor with an open communication affiliation, closeness and warm to other, I can imitate and learn from their behavior. For example; in an office setting, I observe those individuals who seem more of introverts, as I tend to encourage them or talk to them. I believe, an outcome of this would be gaining trust and good levels of cooperation. At the same time, some clients do not have good emotions and are rather rational, so I would prefer keeping a distance, and not disturb them. Furthermore, I tend to tolerant to a maximum possible extent, and try to listen to what others say and advice; this can assist in building up the trustfulness on both sides. Subsequently, the internal and external work will be smoother going. Besides, Robotham (1995, cites at Thorson, 2005, p 78) suggested that adults learn any and everything in the initial stage; therefore, it must set the instruction by following, i.e. once a learner becomes more proficient by applying the material being
2.2 Transferable Skills As, I plan to move towards the career of a hotel manager after my graduation, I must think in terms of the skills that I would want to acquire prior to my job. On a general note, hotels require their manger to have good report writing skills and good communication skills, so as to lead to a more effective job handling. Subsequently, the need arises to specialize in a few, if not many, foreign languages, writing skills and computer skills. Another important point is the fact that the manger is a front office person involved in client meetings and services-cross-selling. Following the same, I believe I need to improve my transferable skill of team working, interpersonal skill, customer orientation and oral presentation. The foreign language skills such as learning English and Mandarin, and the computer skills, I had learned at school, which provides me a strong foundation to build upon. But the writing skill on business report is one of my weaknesses, so learning in logical and clearly expressional ability needs to be developed. In accordance with my results on Beblin test, I have good interpersonal skills, implying that I can patiently listen to opinion of other people, comprehend, understand and explain. Once I work as a hotel manager for a few years, I aim to get a promotion towards the leading position, as applicable, in the business development department. I believe this post needs individuals who can perform multitasking skills like marketing their services, getting more business from the clients, hiring marketing individuals and so on. I think I fit well to this right now and with the experience I gain in the next few years, I will become a perfect fit for this post.
2.3 Justify chose career choice After graduating with a degree in travel and tourism management, I will plan to pursue my career in hotel management industry. In the following section, I will use the KASO analysis to describe the basic requirements on two advertisements (see Appendix B). KASO implies the meaning as the knowledge needed for a particular job, aptitude towards doing and learning-and-doing, and other personal
characteristics include anything relevant to the performance of the job. It can be noticed that the second advertisement does not show detail information on job of member service officer. But I will try to evaluate the job requirement along to other similar occupation.
2.3.1 Person-oriented job analysis: Knowledge: In this advertisement, the business development manager should hold a degree with relevancy in hotel management, catering or hospitality management. Besides, they require working experience in a similar capacity. This requires the manager to understand the current business scenario.
Skill: The skill set needed as per the advertisement requires the manager to have business contacts and good communication, negotiation and selling skills. Additionally, the employees are needed to be fluent in both verbal and written languages i.e. English and Chinese, especially in Mandarin. Also the manager needs to update the records of business contacts through internet, so the skills of MS Office and Chinese word processing softwares become a mandatory requirement. In the
job of member service officer, the requirement additionally asks for excellent command over spoken and written English and Chinese. Proficiency in Mandarin would be more important because services going mainly to customers speaking these three languages. Basically, the skill requirements on two jobs are almost similar.
Ability: The advertisement requires the applicants to have the ability to coordinate with the business partners, thus, excellent time management skills, ability to work independently, handle multiple tasks and meet tight deadlines becomes an unsaid requirement. Besides this, the department operations rely on group work, hence good relationship building and management are also the unsaid needs. In the job of a member service officer, the customers’ flows are largely variant most of the times. Most of the customers spend time there primarily after work or during public holidays. Therefore, flexibility and working under pressure become the needed abilities. Good coordination and communication is also needed because of the inseparable linkage of various departments, as all communicate and coordinate to provide services to the customers. Other personality characteristic: Part of the job responsibility is to work with direct sales teams to develop vertical market. Therefore, self-motivation, active, detail-minded and being extroverted, are some more unsaid skills that are needed for this job. In the job of member service officer, being extrovert is also a need here, alongside being active and optimistic because a smile can attract customers to come again.
2.3.2 Match of my personality to the jobs: In this section, I aim to analyze which of the two jobs match my personality traits and I fulfill the required criterion. The job of business development manager Based on the outcome obtained from the MBTI test, my personality has been identified as an extrovert, innovator, interested in people, focus on building harmony. My traits include being lively, animated, spontaneous, group-oriented and affiliated. Additionally, the Belbin test result shows that I am a resource investigator, who loves to explore opportunities and develops contacts. Therefore, I can fulfill most of the requirements as stated by the job description. The job of member service officer Based on my results for the MBTI test, my personality has been identified as an extroverted, seeking harmonious relationship, and identifies myself as a good communicator. Regretfully, my Belbin test result shows a high score on implementer, depicting that I am conservative, inflexible and slow to respond to new possibilities. This is quite the opposite of the need for this job. Following is a tabulated illustration of the same:
Require on Business Development Manager My personality & ability
Independently & communication
Require on Member Service Officer My personality &
Good relationship & communication
ability Figure 2.3 Compare KSAO with my personality
3. Conclusion Previously, I did not plan on my career and life as I was also ambiguous about discovery various aspects and traits related to my personality such as strengths and weakness. After the three tests being done, I understand how to improve my personality, and my skills. As I further development my career, I would need to ground on my personality traits to find a suitable job, and then, I need to keep the attitude of life-long learning. If I can optimally utilize my multimodal learning style, it can truly facilitate me in self-directed learning.
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Appendix A1: My Result on VARK test
Appendix A2: My Result on MBTI test
Appendix A3: My Result on Belbin test
Appendix B1: Curriculum Vitae My CONTACTS INFORMATION Name: LAI Yuk Yin
Address: Country: Telephone: Cell Phone: Email:
Flat C1, 4/F, Shui Ning Hse, Shui Ning St No.50, Kwun Tong China 21354xxx 91225243
PERSONAL INFORMATION Date of Birth: 20/5/198x Place of Birth: Hong Kong Gender: Female
OBJECTIVE I am now looking to progress into a management position within hotel discipline. I am therefore keen to find a new and suitably challenging role within a market-leading organization. EDUCATION BA (Hons) Travel and Tourism management Northumbria University, UK (2009) WORK EXPERIENCE 1. Dec 2008 to Now Primary school Tutor 2. OCT 200 to Jun 2005 PHC Integrate Medical Centre Assistant Nurse 3. Dec 2000 to Aug 2002 Shui Tai Logistics Co.Ltd Clerk SKILL - Fluent verbal and written English and Chinese (Mandarin) Kowloon City Youth Integrated Service Centre
- Proficiency in MS Office and Chinese Word Processing - Good management Skill and negotiation Skill - Business Acumen and Customer Orientation - Good Interpersonal skill and Oral Presentation Appendix B2: Two Job Advertisement
Appendix C: My Presentation on PowePoint