You are on page 1of 31

Reflective Learning

For Assignment or Dissertation Help, Please
Contact:
Muhammad Sajid Saeed
+44 141 4045137
Email:
todrsaeed@gmail.com
Skype ID: tosajidsaeed

1

Table of Contents
1.0 Introduction..................................................................................................... 2
2.0 Developing Self Awareness..............................................................................3
3.0 Recognising Opportunities...............................................................................4
4.0 Evaluating Opportunities................................................................................. 4
5.0 Searching and Availing Opportunities..............................................................6
6.0 Application and Resume.................................................................................. 7
7.0 Selection.......................................................................................................... 7
8.0 Concluding Remarks........................................................................................ 8
References............................................................................................................. 9
Appendix A: Diagrams......................................................................................... 11
Appendix B: Tables............................................................................................... 12
Appendix C: VAK Learning Style Questionnaire....................................................13
Appendix D: The Big Five Model of Personality Traits...........................................19
Appendix E: Testing Decision Making Skills..........................................................20
Appendix F: Pathfinder......................................................................................... 22
Appendix G: Job Advert........................................................................................ 24
Appendix H: Old CV............................................................................................. 25
Appendix I: New (Updated) CV............................................................................28
Appendix J: Mock Job Interview Feedback............................................................29

2

Reflective Statement
1.0 Introduction
The reflective learning is salient to relate goals of the students to the aim and objectives of
the university. A range of studies conducted by well-known researchers outline the
significance of reflective learning process (Driscoll, 1994; Gibbs, 1988; Kolb, 1984). Solent
University’s career and CV building unit is well-designed for the students that allows them to
think and assess their past experiences to avoid or tackle career related issues ahead. The unit
emphasises the approach of portfolio building including reflecting writing that helps the
university to determine whether students successfully developed and reflected upon their
knowledge, skills, and capabilities while studying at the University. In addition to that
Southampton Solent University also assists students with the provision of several facilities
through ‘Career Box’. The Career Box usually equipped with course focus, self-awareness,
opportunity options, and self-promotion facilities.
During my BA (Honours) in Accounting and Finance discipline in Solent University, I gained
extensive knowledge and countless skills in accounting and finance domains. Further, I
believe that studying career and building unit saliently provides me an opportunity to achieve
my professional career goal which is “to grow in accounting and finance field utilising my
best knowledge and learning abilities so that I can professionally and ethically serve
organisations where I will work”.
In this reflective statement, I described my individual experiences, possibilities, occasions,
and new developed skills under a mixture of Kolb’s experiential learning cycle and Honey
and Mumford’s learning cycle which is shown in figure A1 in Appendix A. The discussion in
this reflective statement surrounds four parameters such as concrete experience (my personal
experiences and feelings), reflective observation (watching and analysing the problems),
abstract conceptualisation (thinking or evaluation different available options, and active
experimentation (taking actions). This reflective statement is structured into the unit elements
shown in figure 1.

3

Figure 1: Unit elements

Developing Self Awareness
Recognising Opportunities
Evaluating Opportunities
g Opportunities

2.0 Developing Self Awareness
The first and critical step was to develop self-awareness. Developing self-awareness is a
difficult phase that consists of discovering one’s nature, personality, learning style, values,
beliefs, skills and capabilities, interests, preferences, liking and disliking, and positive and
negative aspects (McLean, 2005). A range of self-awareness tools and methods helps students
to identify and evaluate their hidden abilities so that they may know themselves. According to
Griffin (2011), it is inherent for the students to identify their learning styles, personality type,
and decision making skills to achieve success and growth in their careers. This is the reason
that I performed three different tests to identify these three traits for developing selfawareness.
The VAK learning style self-assessment questionnaire is well-recognised and recommended
by theorists to determine between three learning styles: auditory learning style, kinaesthetic
learning style, and visual learning style (Sims and Sims, 1995). In order to identify my
approach to learning, I filled VAK questionnaire online. During the test I selected 14 B’s
(options related to auditory learning style) and 13 A’s (choice associated to visual learning
style). This shows that I am more auditory followed by visual learner; therefore, I can say that
I have adopted an audiovisual learning style. The filled questionnaire is available in Appendix
C.
In order to determine my personality type, I performed big five factor model personality test.
This test is based on five big personality traits such as extraversion, agreeableness,
neuroticism, conscientiousness, and openness to experience (Digman, 1990). The personality
4

test results in Appendix D indicate that I have a more Conscientious behaviour followed by
Agreeableness. The Conscientious trait shows that I am well-organised and self-disciplined,
and employers and other people can rely on me. Similarly, Agreeableness feature of my
personality illustrates my good & sympathetic nature and supportive behaviour. The big five
personality traits test also reveals my inability to open to new experience/intellect. This
means that I tend to be curious, uncreative, and traditional. Overall I agree with the test
results which match my personality and aspirations. Also, performing this test allowed me to
discover strong and weak points of my personality.
Finally, to test my decision making skills, I filled an online questionnaire provided by
mindtools.com. The final score i.e. 69 reveals my ‘good’ decision making skills in setting up
processes and generating potential solutions to the problems. The filled questionnaire and
score interpretation are listed in Appendix E.

3.0 Recognising Opportunities
It is a difficult decision for any student to recognise opportunities available to him especially
after completing his graduation. I was also somehow confused about what to do after
graduation but career and CV building unit provided me an opportunity to identify and
evaluate various opportunities that I can avail after my graduation. For example,
employment, further study, time out, and self-employment were the possible choices I was
looking to decide between but the question was still holding the ground which opportunity I
should go for. To solve this dilemma, I searched for different possible options on the basis of
their pros and cons. The foremost benefits and risks associated with each option are listed in
table B1 in Appendix B.

4.0 Evaluating Opportunities
After reviewing the benefits and risks of each option, I evaluated the benefits of available
options using evaluation matrix shown in table 1.

5

Table 1: Evaluation Matrix

CRITERIA

Employment

Benefits
Monetary benefits
Skills and development
Study opportunities
Career development
Better scope
Self-awareness
Freedom
Stress free life
Reducing debts
Professional approach
Gross Rating
W = Weight (5-high to 1-low)

5
5
3
5
5

5
2
2
5
5
42

EVALUATION
Further
SelfTime out
Study
Employment
Weights
1
1
5
4
3
4
5
2
1
4
3
2
4
2
4
3
3
5
3
5
5
3
5
5
1
1
2
2
2
4
30
27
37
Source: Spaulding (2008)

It is evident from the above evaluation that job after graduation option is suitable for me on
the basis of its benefits over other choices. Furthermore, by working in the profession of
accounting and finance will allow me to professionally utilise my knowledge and skills that I
developed whilst studying in Solent University. Similarly in order to evaluate risks associated
with each option, I used risk register to record and prioritise risks. Similarly, risk map was
used to graphically show the significance of risks on the basis of their probabilities and
impacts. The risk register is available in table 2 followed by the risk map.

Rank

Table 2: Risk register

Category

R1
R2
R3
R4
R5
R6
R7
R8
R9
R10

TO
FS, TO
FS
SE, EMP
TO
SE
SE
EMP
TO
EMP

Probable Risks
Missing out employment chances
More debt
High fee
Prevent further studies
Hinder personal commitment
HMRC restrictions
Tax constraints
Time constraints
Negative impression
Doing wrong job or competition

Prob.

Impact

Score

(P)
4
4
4
4
4
3
4
3
3
2

(I)
5
5
4.5
4.5
4
4
3
3
3
3

(P x I)
20
20
18
18
16
12
12
9
9
6

EMP = Employment, FS = Further study, TO = Time out, SE = Self-Employment

6

The risk analysis of various opportunities reveals high risks in selecting time out, further
studies, and self employment on the basis of different risk factors. Whereas employment
opportunity has low risks compared to other opportunities.

5.0 Searching and Availing Opportunities
On the basis of benefits and risks evaluations, I gave priority to graduate employment.
Although, I am an accounting and finance professional with adequate work experience of a
well-known oil firm and a reputed bank in the KSA, but I was planning to gain work
experience in the UK after completing my graduation. Therefore, I was slightly confused
about what kind of jobs I should apply to start my career in the UK. To clarify my mind, I
used two tools from different websites. For example, ‘Job Discovery Wizard’ is used to
explore my skills and knowledge in accounting and finance domain while ‘Career Pathfinder’
tool is used to scrutinize the kinds of jobs I should apply for.
As shown in Appendix F that the results of job discovery wizard highlight 5 core skills and 3
key areas of my knowledge depending on the questions asked during the wizard. On the other
hand, the outcome of career pathfinder tool indicates two major job titles such as ‘financial
auditors and accountants’ and ‘accounting and related clerks’ as shown in Appendix F.
On the basis of the above facts, I decided to look for job sites and recruitment agencies that
can help me finding a job in accounting and finance domain. I preferred recruitment agencies
websites because of its numerous advantages over other conventional methods. For example,
7

cost effectiveness, rapid response, and latest technology (Dhar, 2008). Another important
decision was to select appropriate recruitment agency with adequate online facilities for
graduate students. I tried the Google search engine to find some websites of recruitment
agencies with a list of appropriate jobs for me. I found that some websites are especially
designed for accounting and finance jobs. So I picked up two websites i.e. www.reed.co.uk
and www.accountancyagejobs.com to apply same kind of jobs recommended by pathfinder. I
applied nearly 5 jobs through these websites and received an interview call from ‘HealthCare
International’ through reed.co.uk. The copy of job advert is included in Appendix G.

6.0 Application and Resume
The importance of preparing a perfect CV that makes a great impression on the employer is
very important for a candidate applying for graduate jobs (Corfield, 2006). The career and
CV building unit and especially the mock interview encouraged me to make significant
changes in my CV to make it more professional, purposeful, concise, and tidy. My old CV
(available in Appendix H) was according to the style which is acceptable in Saudi Arabia but
it was inappropriate to apply for jobs in the UK with this kind of CV. Therefore, I made some
significant changes in my CV to make it more attractive and professional with full of
necessary information and skills. On the basis of mock interview feedback, the significant
changes I made in my CV include: reduced to one page, removed extra spaces, use of tables
to summarise information, and inclusion of relevant skills and abilities. My new and updated
CV is available in Appendix I. Now I am sure that these significant changes will help me to
confidently apply for jobs and also I am expecting considerable job offers in future.

7.0 Selection
The career research process ended with a mock interview for the job of ‘Assistant
Accountant’ in HealthCare International. This job I applied through reed.co.uk. The mock
interview was conducted for many purposes; for example, to defeat my hesitation during real
interview, to probe into the situation, to overcome my weaknesses, and to gain confidence for
the real interview. As shown in Appendix J that my mock job interviewer, Victoria Simpson,
mentioned various positive and negative points about the mock interview. She highlighted
some positive perspectives of my mock interview; for example, well-presented and neat
dressing, strong answers of the interviewers, suitability to the role, and professional cover
letter. On the other hand, she has also indicated some flaws or weaknesses during mock
8

interview. For example, avoid using negative language such as dismissing the work as ‘only
for a few months’, keep the body language calm during an interview, and finally develop new
and updated CV according to the requirements of applying in the UK job graduate schemes.
The mock interview encouraged me and provided me the opportunity to remove any barriers
prior to conduct real interviews.

8.0 Concluding Remarks
It is not easy to count the benefits that I received whilst studying in Solent University
particularly the career and CV building unit. But overall, I feel extremely pleased after
completing BA (Honours) Accounting and Finance from Solent University. I am also satisfied
from the new knowledge and competencies I developed during this course. Particularly,
career and CV building unit helped me to: develop an effective and comprehensive portfolio,
recognise my personality traits, identify learning styles, and discover my decision making
skills. Further I learned how different career pathfinder tools can help me to narrow down the
future job possibilities.
At the end, the mock interview prior to a real interview for the post of Assistant Accounting
in HealthCare International was very useful for me. Although, it highlighted my positive
approach of interview but it also indicated some weaknesses regarding my CV, appearance,
body language, and negative language during the interview. On the basis of the above facts, I
can confidently say that the entire course and career and CV building unit facilitated me to
develop many transferable skills and abilities that are vital for any student in his career.

9

References
Corfield, R. (2006). Preparing the perfect CV: How to make a great impression and get the
job you want. 3rd edition, Kogan Page Publishers
Dhar, R.L. (2008). Strategic Human Resource Management. Excel Books.
Driscoll, M. P. (1994). Psychology of learning for instruction. Needham Heights, MA: Allyn
and Bacon
Digman, J. M. (1990). Personality structure: Emergence of the Five-Factor Model. Annual
Review of Psychology, 41, pp. 417-440.
Gibbs G. (1988). Learning by Doing: A Guide to Teaching and Learning Methods. Oxford:
Further Education Unit
Griffin, R.W. (2011). Fundamentals of management. Cengage Learning
Kolb, D. A. (1984). Experiential learning: experience as the source of learning and
development. New Jersey: Prentice Hall
Lee-Davies, L. (2006). Developing work and study skills. Cengage Learning EMEA
McLean, G.N. (2005). Organisational development: principles, processes, performance.
Berrett-Koehler Publishers
Research Education Association (1997). Careers for the Year 2000 and Beyond. Research and
Education Association
Russell, H., Smyth, E. and O'Connell, P.J. (2005). Degrees of Equality: Gender Pay
Differentials among Recent Graduates. ESRI
Sims, R.R. and Sims, S.J. (1995). The importance of learning styles: Understanding the
implications for learning, course design, and education. Greenwood Publishing Group
Schnitman, I. (2007). The Dynamics Involved in Web-based Learning Environment (WLE)
Interface Design and Human-computer Interactions (HCI): Connections with Learning
Performance. ProQuest

10

Spaulding, D.T. (2008). Program Evaluation in Practice: Core Concepts and Examples for
Discussion and Analysis. John Wiley & Sons
Zbilgin, M.F. (2009). Career Choice in Management and Entrepreneurship: A Research
Companion. Edward Elgar Publishing
Online Sources
www.reed.co.uk
www.accountancyagejobs.com
www.outofservice.com/bigfive/
www.careerpath.com/career-tests/skills-assessment/
www.workbc.ca/Jobs/JobSeekers/CareerExplorer.aspx

11

Appendices
Appendix A: Diagrams
Figure A1: Amalgamation of Kolb and Honey & Mumford’s learning cycles

Source: Lee-Davies (2006, p. 35)

12

Appendix B: Tables
Table B1: Pros and Cons of available options
Option

Employment

Pros
o Monetary benefits
o Paying up student loans
o Professional skills development
o Positive approach
o Continuing part time study

o Academic skills development

Further study

o Intellectual ability development
o Career development opportunity
o More better scope
o Better job offers

Time out

Cons
o Risk of doing wrong job
o Unable to apply for further jobs due to
time constraint
o May prevent further studies
o Chance of rejections due to rivalry

o Not a guarantee of top job in start
o Lack of money
o High fee for international students
o More debt
o More time invested in study

o Developing skills

o High cost may increase debt level

o Shaping career path
o Self-awareness
o Impress employers

o Missing out employment chances
o Too much focus on enjoyment
o Negative impression

o Good addition to CV

o May hinder personal commitment

o Freedom

o No guarantee for business success

o Earn more money
o Creative skills development
Self employment
o Be my own boss
o Flexible work hours
o Stress or pressure free life

o Problems during nadir times
o Requires extensive knowledge of market
o Lack of capital to be invested
o Extra taxes
o HMRC restrictions

Sources: Research Education Association (1997), Russell et al. (2005), Zbilgin (2009)

13

14

Appendix C: VAK Learning Style Questionnaire
1. When I operate new equipment I generally:
a) Read the instructions first
b) Listen to an explanation from someone who has used it before
c) Go ahead and have a go, I can figure it out as I use it

2. When I need directions for travelling I usually:
a) Look at a map
b) Ask for spoken directions
c) Follow my nose and maybe use a compass

3. When I cook a new dish, I like to:
a) follow a written recipe
b) call a friend for an explanation
c) follow my instincts, testing as I cook

4. If I am teaching someone something new, I tend to:
a) write instructions down for them
b) give them a verbal explanation
c) demonstrate first and then let them have a go

5. I tend to say:
a) watch how I do it
b) listen to me explain
c) you have a go

6. During my free time I most enjoy:
a) going to museums and galleries
b) listening to music and talking to my friends
c) playing sport or doing DIY

15

7. When I go shopping for clothes, I tend to:
a) imagine what they would look like on
b) discuss them with the shop staff
c) try them on and test them out

8. When I am choosing a holiday I usually:
a) read lots of brochures
b) listen to recommendations from friends
c) imagine what it would be like to be there

9. If I was buying a new car, I would:
a) read reviews in newspapers and magazines
b) discuss what I need with my friends
c) test-drive lots of different types

10. When I am learning a new skill, I am most comfortable:
a) watching what the teacher is doing
b) talking through with the teacher exactly what I’m supposed to do
c) giving it a try myself and work it out as I go

11. If I am choosing food off a menu, I tend to:
a) imagine what the food will look like
b) talk through the options in my head or with my partner
c) imagine what the food will taste like

12. When I listen to a band, I can’t help:
a) watching the band members and other people in the audience
b) listening to the lyrics and the beats
c) moving in time with the music

16

13. When I concentrate, I most often:
a) focus on the words or the pictures in front of me
b) discuss the problem and the possible solutions in my head
c) move around a lot, fiddle with pens and pencils and touch things
14. I choose household furnishings because I like:
a) their colours and how they look
b) the descriptions the sales-people give me
c) their textures and what it feels like to touch them

15. My first memory is of:
a) looking at something
b) being spoken to
c) doing something

16. When I am anxious, I:
a) visualise the worst-case scenarios
b) talk over in my head what worries me most
c) can’t sit still, fiddle and move around constantly

17. I feel especially connected to other people because of:
a) how they look
b) what they say to me
c) how they make me feel

17

18. When I have to revise for an exam, I generally:
a) write lots of revision notes and diagrams
b) talk over my notes, alone or with other people
c) imagine making the movement or creating the formula

19. If I am explaining to someone I tend to:
a) show them what I mean
b) explain to them in different ways until they understand
c) encourage them to try and talk them through my idea as they do it

20. I really love:
a) watching films, photography, looking at art or people watching
b) listening to music, the radio or talking to friends
c) taking part in sporting activities, eating fine foods and wines or dancing

21. Most of my free time is spent:
a) watching television
b) talking to friends
c) doing physical activity or making things

22. When I first contact a new person, I usually:
a) arrange a face to face meeting
b) talk to them on the telephone
c) try to get together whilst doing something else, such as an activity or a meal

23. I first notice how people:
a) look and dress
b) sound and speak
c) stand and move

18

24. If I am angry, I tend to:
a) keep replaying in my mind what it is that has upset me
b) raise my voice and tell people how I feel
c) stamp about, slam doors and physically demonstrate my anger

25. I find it easiest to remember:
a) faces
b) names
c) things I have done

26. I think that you can tell if someone is lying if:
a) they avoid looking at you
b) their voices changes
c) they give me funny vibes

27. When I meet an old friend:
a) I say “it’s great to see you!”
b) I say “it’s great to hear from you!”
c) I give them a hug or a handshake

28. I remember things best by:
a) writing notes or keeping printed details
b) saying them aloud or repeating words and key points in my head
c) doing and practising the activity or imagining it being done

29. If I have to complain about faulty goods, I am most comfortable:
a) writing a letter
b) complaining over the phone
c) taking the item back to the store or posting it to head office

19

30. I tend to say:
a) I see what you mean
b) I hear what you are saying
c) I know how you feel

Result:
A

=

13 (Visual)

B

=

14 (Auditory)

C

=

3 (Kinaesthetic)

Source: Schnitman (2007, p. 151)

20

Appendix D: The Big Five Model of Personality Traits

Source: http://www.outofservice.com/bigfive/
21

Appendix E: Testing Decision Making Skills

22

Source: http://www.mindtools.com

23

Appendix F: Pathfinder

Source: http://www.careerpath.com/career-tests/skills-assessment/

24

Source: http://www.workbc.ca/Jobs/JobSeekers/CareerExplorer.aspx

25

Appendix G: Job Advert

Source: www.reed.co.uk

26

Appendix H: Old CV
Hussain Almansour
Address: Room D, flat 72, block D, Emily Davies, Southampton campus SO15 2PU
Email: asd.555@hotmail.com
Mobile: 07529789554
Professional profile
I am a straight forward person, with thirst for different experiences, I have high ambitious. I
am always motivated and eager to contribute with work regardless if it’s academic or
employee in a work place.
I think am a active person who likes to explore the world and get along with people from
different background. I can speak at least 3 different languages which can be helpful for me if
I am travelling in future or working abroad.
I have an easy going persona and can make friends with people from different backgrounds.
Education

2011-2012, university of Southampton Solent, United Kingdom, Bachelor in
accountancy and Finance I have finish my first year and I feel that I improved my

skills and knowledge in my studies.
2010-2011, university of Swansea Metropolitan, UK, International Foundation
program business. This helped to improved my English language, communication
skills and provide me with business basics in general. Also, it qualified me to


complete my studies at Southampton SolentUniversity.
2008-2009, studied for IELTS in Manchester
2004-2006 High School Alhadithah Diploma in Natural Science, Mathematics,
English; Arabic, Physics and Religious Studies.

Subjects studied



Science
Mathematics
English
Arabic
27






Geography
History
RE religious studies
Nature studies
ICT
Business studies

Work experience

April 18th 2006- February 9th2007 work experience in Al riyad bank in Saudi Arabia
August 17th 2007- November 27th, work experience with Saudi Aramco as a learner

for accounting
14th march 2008- 05th July 2008, worked in a coffee shop as a customer assistant.

Additional skills
Working and gaining the experience thought me a great experience which I needed as an
essential with my life, I have gained new skills and experiences. I can deal with customers in
a polite well-mannered way; I can work in a team or individually. I can take and give orders
if needed, I I have the skills to motivate my group mate or my friends. Working made me
realize the value of money and how vital it is for one to survive in the real world.
The following skills are my strong points






Listening skills
Presentation skills
Communication skills
Team working
Customer services
Ability to work unsupervised
Hygienic

Interests
I have hobbies and things that I like to enjoy during my free time, I love playing sports and
getting involved in activities. I like to keep myself fit and go to the gym during my free time.
I love to cook and am one of my hobbies as well which is essential to know. I go and watch a
movie sometimes with friends; I have interest in reading books with good nonfiction stories. I
28

like to read newspaper and watch news as well to get updated with what happening around
the world. I watch documentaries about nature and mysteries.
Reference available on request

29

Appendix I: New (Updated) CV
HUSSAIN ALMANSOUR
Address:

Room D, flat 72, block D, Emily Davies, Southampton campus SO15 2PU

Contact:

07529789554

Email(s):

asd.555@hotmail.com

Objective:

I am self-motivated person with adequate problem solving abilities, looking to secure a
position in a reputable organisation that can allow me to effectively utilise my skills and
competencies so that the outcome can be used for the befit of the organisation.

Academic Education
Sr.
1

Certification / Degree
BA (Hons.) Accounting
and Finance
UK, International
Foundation program
business

Institution / University
Southampton Solent
University – UK

Specialization
Accounting and
Finance

University of Swansea
Metropolitan

English Language
Program

2010-2011

3

IELTS

Manchester

English

2008-2009

4

Diploma in Natural
Science, Mathematics,
English; Arabic, Physics
and Religious Studies

High School Alhadithah

Science

2004-2006

2

Duration
2011-2012

Work Experience
Organization
Organization Type
Designation
Tenure

:
:
:
:

Saudi Aramco
State-owned national oil company of Saudi Arabia
Accountant Assistant
March 2007 to November 2007

Organization
Organization Type
Designation
Tenure

:
:
:
:

Al-Riyadh Bank in Saudi Arabia
Bank
Trainee Assistant Accountant
April 2006 to February 2007

Computer Skills and Other Abilities
Sr.
1
2
3
4
5

Skills & Abilities
Presentation skills
Interpersonal skills
Communication skills
Team working skills
Computer skills (MS Office)

Level
Good
Good
Adequate
Good
Good

Last Used / Practiced
Currently Using
Currently Using
Currently Using
Currently Using
Currently Using

References
Will be furnished on demand

30

Appendix J: Mock Job Interview Feedback

31