Academic Skills

The ability to succeed in study at higher education, and in many careers is increasingly dependent on the development of a variety of intellectual and transferable competence's and skills. Employment organisation's and professional bodies have recognised the importance of such competencies, often within educational programmes and frameworks of Continuing Professional Development (CPD).

Your study here will offer not only knowledge and intellectual development but also personal development. We start this journey here, where you are encouraged to consider your experiences and skills you have developed so far in your education and career to date.

Skills for Learning

Skills for Learning is a collection of resources to support the learning and teaching of academic skills. Academic skills include the use of IT, numeracy, academic literacy, problem solving, critical thinking, working with others and research skills to name just a few. Reading, links and activities are supplemented by a podcast series which explores a variety of topics such as essay writing, plagiarism and statistics.

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It is likely that as well as your commitment to study on this course, you will have a variety of other commitments in your life demanding your time and attention - be that work, family, or social commitments.

To be successful and avoid unruly amounts of stress, you can use time management skills to plan your life effectively and fit everything in. Skills for Learning have a very useful section on Time Management that you can work through.

It is essential that you are competent in Academic Referencing in order to ensure that you do not inadvertently fall foul of our regulations on Academic integrity.

Your course information module and the guidance for each assignment will provide details of the referencing style you are expected to use. For many of you, academic referencing will be a new skill, but you will be putting what you learn into practice in every module and your competence will quickly increase.

All Module Tutors will be happy to assist you when you have specific questions on this as you work through your course.

However confident you are (or are not) with numbers, you may find it helpful to assess your skill level and work out where your strengths and weaknesses lie. If there are areas you wish to improve, you may find the following useful:

Critical thinking skills are essential for your study. You will need to understand key questions from many angles and perspectives and be able to construct (and deconstruct) convincing arguments. Critical thinking is not only central to succeeding in your studies but also essential for the effective employee who needs to make good judgements based on evidence, arguments and experience.

Take a look at the Skills for Learning Critical Thinking section, in particular the Lines of Reasoning Animation. You may also find the Critical Thinking guidance and activities on the LearnHigher website useful.

The ‘Reflective Practitioner’ approach (developed by Schön in 1983) aims to develop your ‘reflection-in-action’ capacities (thinking what you are doing while you are doing it) as it is these capacities that skilful practitioners bring to situations of uncertainty.

An understanding of the key concepts of learning and reflection will support your development during your studies, facilitating a fuller and more rewarding integration of your subject specific and skills learning in all the other modules.

Skills for Learning has a full section on Reflection, including Learning Logs and Critical Incident Approach.