Dec 11, 2011

Stepping Stones to Reach Goals

Stepping Stones to Reach Goals
Imagine you want to cross a river without getting your feet wet. The first thing to do is to find out if there are some stepping stones by which you will make some small leaps to finally reach the other side of the river as your goal. The same is true of your study. Like crossing a river, you need to make some short-term learning plans by which you will reach your long-term goal. Whether you're studying in college or high school, planning is an integral part of your effort in pursuing your goals. Making a learning plan will ensure that you study more systematically taking one step after the other and stay focused on your goals. A learning plan refers to a research design or plan of action for the learning process during one semester. You can also make a long-term plan to make the whole course of your study easy to do. A short-term plan is, however, more practical because its effectiveness can be assessed in a short time.

So, check out how to make an effective and practical learning plan below!

Appraise Yourself
You'll find hard to decide what learning activities you have to accomplish in one semester if you don't know what competencies you've mastered since the last semester. For that reason, self-evaluation is a must to take the next step. It will help you to identify and set your learning objectives because you'll discover which areas you are strong in and which areas you need to work on.

Set Learning Objectives
Having identified what you need to work on, you can phrase them precisely into learning objectives. You should explain in greater detail your specific objectives for this semester. Included in this kind of objectives are, for instance, what specific knowledge, skills or experiences you want to acquire this semester. Or what philosophical or theoretical approach you want to explore. Or what kinds of self-understanding and social awareness you want to achieve.

Describe Your Activities
At this stage, you specify what exactly you're going to do, how you will learn what you have planned and what learning activities you will engage in this semester. If you are studying Ecology, for example, you can think of doing field research about the influence of water pollution on the living organism in the rivers. In this case, you will collect data on the number of poisoned fish in a certain period of time. You're hoping to become more familiar with methods of scientific inquiry and field study to pursue your interest in environment and to further develop your knowledge of river preservation.

List Resources
Pursuing learning objectives is much easier to carry out by means of supporting resources. Teacher or lecturers, academic counselors, books newspapers and magazines, movies, plays, laboratories, and organizations are important auspicious resources in the learning process. Don't worry about not knowing all your sources in the beginning. The learning plan is meant to evolve. At least put down the kinds of resources, even if you don't know exactly which ones. Ask your friends and colleagues.

Fix Target Dates
Deciding target dates is like putting stones by which you want to cross a river. You'll never the other side of the river without them. So is true of pursuing your short-term learning objectives. Choose a date by which you hope to have completed your learning activities. Pursuing one learning objective after the other will at the end constitute your long-term learning objective. Your time frame may be consecutive, but you may want to set a date for reassessment.

Review Learning Objectives
Now think about what you have achieved at the true of your target date. Identify the measurable progress by comparing the knowledge and skills you've obtained before and after you accomplished the learning objectives. If the result is not satisfying, redefine your learning objectives to meet your learning needs. For example, “I gave my self enough time to achieve the research activities, but not enough time to finish the reading.”

Redefine Learning Objectives
Once you discover that your learning objectives are not successfully achieved, change the way you want to approach them. You can set new target dates, for instance, or add more learning resources or adjust your learning activities.

Well folks, pursuing a long-term goal is like crossing a river; you need to pass one stepping stone after the other so you'll finally arrive at the other side of the river safe and sound.
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