“Finishing off this reflection I feel empowered, energized, and dare I say just a little bit excited for what comes next.”
“I feel that it is fantastic that we will learn HOW to study and not just take a whole lot of information into our heads like a sponge then have to squeeze it all out at the end of the term and then forget about everything you have learnt after all your hard work in the previous 12 weeks. But the goal of this unit is to develop our own ideas and understanding so that we are actually taking in the information that we understand and can use in everyday life … Which is not something I have ever been taught to do in the past.”
“Now I’m one of those people who love to learn, thrive on obtaining knowledge about all things I find of interest, and learning new life skills. I believe that in this aspect I do engage in a holistic “changing as a person” type of learning. But … in formal educational settings it seems I digress to a more simplistic ‘rote learning‘ approach where I fail to create personal comprehension of the course work provided and thus do not maintain the knowledge. But why? I’ve chosen to walk this path and have great interest in the study I am undertaking, so why do I not actively seek to create a deeper understanding where I allow it to become ingrained into who I am as a person? Consequently, Martin’s outlining of the ways in which we learn has given me more questions than I have answers for and I hope that throughout this journey I can find those answers within myself.”
“I have always thought that I understood what accounting was and was sure that I knew all the ins and outs and what to expect from this unit. However upon reading Chapter 1 of the study guide, I found myself surprised at all of the information I was not aware of. For the first time I was truly taking information in. It had never occurred to me that I was simply glazing over information and retaining only what was necessary to pass; it had never occurred to me that once the unit was completed, I no longer held that information … This will be one of my main goals for this unit, to create a firm understanding of accounting … in a way that will encourage the retention of information…”
I have been greatly enjoying reading your ASS#1 Step 1.
As we mark each of your ASS#1 Step 1 your mark will be available in Moodle; and you will receive an email when your mark is available. You will receive some individual feedback on Step 1, as well as this General Feedback. And there will be ASS#1 Step 1 Exemplars in the Feedback section on the right-hand side of Moodle (or if using your phone or tablet, at the bottom of Moodle). Also in the Feedback section, is an exemplar of all the steps in the Assignment from Natasha Boath and Danielle Bradley (previous students in the unit). These include their great ASS#1 Step 1. In addition, here is a great video on ‘How to Write KCQs‘. And here is some feedback and guidance on how to write key concepts and questions (KCQs).
I expect to have everyone’s ASS#1 Step 1 marked and returned to you over the next week.
Learning and Online Communication
Generally, people valued the opportunity to read the Introduction and appreciated the opportunity to think about their learning and online communication skills, while studying introductory accounting:
“While reading through the requirements of this unit and what would be expected of us, I found myself agitated that there were so many components to our assessment pieces, I found myself questioning why we were being asked to complete so many tasks that didn’t necessarily relate to the typical accountancy role. Is this to encourage us to push further past the typical means of learning a subject? I now know that Martin is making us challenge ourselves and is encouraging a greater retention of information and a more enjoyable learning experience.”
Many people have been fearful of studying accounting; yet already a number are feeling their confidence increasing:
“Before this unit began I looked at the assessment criteria quite extensively and with my past struggle with accounting I began to doubt whether or not I could do this. I enrolled anyway thinking I need to try; over the last week with reading through the study guide, participating in PeerWise and getting familiar with Moodle my confidence has grown significantly. I can do this…”
Communicating with others
A big theme people referred to was communicating and learning with others:
“The idea that we can learn more through peer interaction and by expressing our thoughts and ideas with others is a fun concept, as is getting to know my peers and their ideas, struggles and achievements; which makes me feel not so alone on this journey.”
“I am particularly excited by the interaction in this subject – Facebook, PeerWise, and the blogs. This type of learning captivates me, where we get to discuss and help each other through the term. I am already enjoying reading blog’s from others, and taking part in PeerWise as this has helped me learn a lot already; in turn, giving me some confidence (which is already lacking in this field for me).”
Most people are getting the idea that this unit supports you to communicate with others in our unit, as we learn with and from each other. Some people are excited by this opportunity, particularly (but not only) online students:
“For an online student like myself the concept of interacting with others is fantastic, you do not feel like you are in a class of your own. There are people out there learning the same things as you are at the same time. You can all work together and help each other through a number of different platforms and I feel like this is not just important for your studies, it is also important to learn how to interact with people in society and in your workplace.”
And quite a few, particularly online students, have decided they want to avoid being a ‘lone-ranger’ in their studies:
“…challenge myself to become more of an interactive student with my fellow colleagues and not stay a ‘lone ranger’ …”
And people did express some fears and concerns with doing this:
“When I first read that I should interact with other fellow students, I felt it was a bit scary as I am a reserved, introverted person. As I am moving forward step by step, studying this unit, I am enjoying reading fellow students’ blogs, responding to them and improving mine with the help of feedback. It’s fun learning by doing something you are creating by yourself and it boosts my self-confidence.”
And remember: you can use PeerWise on your phone. Many people (including myself) find this a great way to use PeerWise at times when they have a few minutes spare.
Also, many have already come to realise the value and importance of learning with, and from, each other:
“Interact or Perish. I was greatly surprised at the statement ‘you will do 90% of your learning through your interactions with other students in this unit’. I understand the importance of interactions however if I was honestly asked this as a question prior to reading this … I would have answered that ‘what you read from a textbook would be the majority of your learning’.
As I read on however I began to change my opinion. One paragraph in particular discussed the importance of being able to work well with others in your workplace in order to achieve goals. As a team player in both my local touch football team and cheerleading squad I understand the significant impact effective team cohesion has on our performance. Every person in the team has different strengths and ideas for strategies that are constantly being shared between us to improve. Last Wednesday one of my team players taught me to do a ‘wrap’ and I scored a try!
This idea of communicating with others is so crucial to performance in sport got me thinking why wouldn’t the same apply to my learning? I then got busy trying out PeerWise, reading blogs and chatting to a student who completed this subject last year. These three interactions allowed me to gain a deeper understanding of accounting in just one day.
I can see now how interacting with other students will allow me to learn so much more than what a textbook can teach me. Having networks will also act as a support line for myself when I find myself stuck and in need of assistance. I believe that interacting with others is not just simply reading drafts of their work and pointing out errors, but incorporating other people’s opinions, ideas and past experiences into our learning journey.”
Learning for understanding and personal change
Many people commented they were not aware they were simply ‘rote learning’ in their formal education and that there were other ways to think about what learning is. As people became aware of the six ways we can think about learning, some realised they need to consider how they study and learn:
“My preconceived ideas and thoughts, as I’m sure are the same as many other students, was that I would learn the fundamentals of accounting by way of summarising a text, remembering key information and formulas and having the ability to regurgitate it when needed. Now I’m not so against this method as I’m quite proficient in regurgitating information and one will do what one must in order to receive good grades. But Martin’s outline of the 6 different approaches to learning that start at the simplest form of a quantitative increase in knowledge and memorising of facts through to a more holistic approach that enables us to morph as an individual, has me engaging in a more critical reflection of my own learning process and asking myself ‘do I activate all 6 stages in order to really learn?’”
And there is certainly quite a bit more awareness among people about the weaknesses of simply ‘rote learning’, if it is not also accompanied with understanding and developing personal meaning:
“How we Learn. ‘We find it difficult to remember things we do not understand’. This section was a real eye opener and a new concept to me. I had never really thought about the way in which I learnt, and especially not that fact that I have actually been doing it wrong. High school for me was definitely all about rote learning. Me and my best friend would spend hours memorizing and recalling facts like robots. Sometimes we even made up silly songs or acronyms in hope of remembering everything we had learnt that term. We studied hard and were both straight A students, but was it really just that we had good memories? And true to Martin’s quote we would ‘vacuum clean our brains’ at the end of term and would not be able to recall one fact by the end of the year. Why did we do this?!”
Hopefully this time, I’ll be able to retain the information not only after I wrap up this [unit] but also well into the future and my career.”
That is certainly the idea; learning that stays with us, becomes part of us and, indeed, changes our lives; and not a shallow, superficial type of learning:
“This brings me to reflect on my previous formal studies. ‘Rote learning’ – do I do this without even thinking? In my most recent unit I memorised a large quantity of information for the exam. When sitting in [the] exam I smiled as I could see that multiple questions required me to write down information I had stored away in that trusty brain of mine. It all came tumbling out word for word from the short answers I had memorised. Now that Martin has questioned my definition and process of learning I am attempting to recall that information I so easily called upon only a few short weeks ago, but apart from some key words I come up blank. So what does that mean? Did I not learn sufficiently? Did I [have] a ‘deep’ learning experience? No I didn’t; and this I find concerning as what is the point on my embarking on a journey to gain a greater appreciation and understanding if I am only [experiencing] such a basic form of learning?”
And so some people are assessing, and changing, their definitions of what they think learning is. This does not necessarily mean you will always learn in a different way; but it does mean you can conceive, or think about, learning in a number of different ways. Which is definitely a start, and can help open up new, exciting possibilities of real learning while at uni.
Not doing a summary – while also communicating my current understanding of key concepts
“One thing I don’t want to do is to summarise the reading …”
Most people have the idea of not writing a simple summary. So most people emphasised communicating our opinions and reactions to some of the key concepts; only a few people wrote largely impersonal summaries of the reading. Also, quite a few people are connecting some of the key concepts in the reading to their prior knowledge and previous experience. This is really excellent.
In future, you should focus on carefully describing your understanding of some of the key concepts in your own words. Many people, keen to avoid summarising the reading, did not do this. But you need to do this first to ground solidly your reflections and critical responses to some of the key concepts in the reading. The best way to communicate your current understanding of a key concept is to describe the key concept in your own words and then give an example of that concept, either from your company or from your prior knowledge and previous experience.
Quite a few people (well, a lot of people) commented on their experience with using PeerWise as a tool to support our learning, which was generally very positive (although sometimes after some initial reluctance):
“I think Peerwise is a fantastic concept. Being able to test yourself on your understanding of the reading that you have completed that week to make sure you have the greatest understanding is very beneficial to your education. It also helps you work out the areas of the reading that you may have not fully understood. Where you can go back and reread that part of the study guide to brush up on your knowledge.”
“Unexpectedly, I’ve already found Peerwise to be very useful and very addictive. This quirky little learning space is easy to navigate, easy to become involved in and is proving to be a thought provoking way to compliment reading the study guide and a pleasant way to interact with other students. I’m also a sucker for badges and scores.”
“I found the online communication and information through PeerWise a wonderful tool to learn and interact. Being able to create questions and receive feedback from my peers has instilled a new-found confidence in my abilities. I feel as though I’m in the teacher’s seat creating directions for my students and providing explanations as to why a certain answer is correct. It’s rather quite empowering and ridiculously addictive. I also enjoy seeing what others can create and how different people view content in varying ways.”
“I think that Peerwise is a fantastic concept. Being able to test yourself on your understanding of the reading that you have completed that week to make sure you have the greatest understanding is very beneficial to your education. It also helps you work out the areas of the reading that you have not fully understood. Where you can go back and reread that part of the study guide to brush up on your knowledge.”
PeerWise won a major international Education technology award at San Francisco: Reimagine Education Awards & Conference – the Oscars of Education. This is the bit of the video where Paul Denny (creator of PeerWise) accepted the award.
And see the great video Tips on Using PeerWise for tips on how to use this great tool.
How to read critically and reflectively
These opportunities (such as in ASS#1 Step 1) to give us your KCQs (Key Concepts & Questions) on the readings are designed to support us all to read the material; and to also experience what it is like to form (and communicate) opinions and reactions to key concepts in the reading, grounded in evidence and reasons.
So, once you have clearly communicated your understanding of some of the key concepts in the reading, tell me your opinions and reactions to some of these key concepts, supporting your opinions with evidence and reasons from your prior knowledge and previous experience.
After all, opinions are cheap: we all have them, even about things we actually know little about. What is important is the reason for our opinions. What do you agree or disagree with, and why? What do you find surprising, confusing, interesting or difficult to believe, and why? In your subsequent assignments, focus on supporting your opinions with evidence and reasons, connecting to what you already know from your prior knowledge and previous experience.
Also, if you gain some new insights or thoughts, make sure you communicate these to us.
What is accounting?
A number of people are thinking about this; and a few have already changed their view as to what accounting is, at least to some extent:
“Currently, I work full-time as the office manager of a Rockhampton based Chartered Accountancy firm and I am exposed to elements of accounting every day in different circumstances. Whilst I thought I understood the ‘basic’ elements of accounting and was quite confident in many aspects of the profession; I never fully understood the concepts behind accounting, where it originated from and why exactly it is that we do what we do.”
“I think that accounting allows you to gain insight into what is going on in a business but only to a certain point. They are so many other aspects and variables of business and as mentioned in the reading, each firm experiences different economic realities. Viewing a graph showing that a business’s revenue is currently higher than its expenses does not necessarily mean that the business is thriving. Accounting does not give you an insight into the way in which these profits were achieved, quality of the products produced or satisfaction of customers and employees.”
“Definition of accounting: Now what is accounting? To be honest I thought I understood this term and its purpose of recording, categorising, and storing information in order to provide a summary of a business’ financial position, as well as providing vital information to the taxation department. But it’s becoming apparent that accounting is so much more than this and its importance far wider spread than initially thought. Not only does accounting assist in providing the summaries of how a business is performing, it allows us to understand the value in business and that accounting doesn’t just show a firm’s reality but can help create and understand it. I’m sure my definition of accounting will continue to expand throughout my journey in this unit.”
We look forward in the next few weeks to reading the rest of your ASS#1.