Creating a plan
In our last section we began to examine planning. We discussed some principles that underpin a study plan, and in this section, we will develop this subject further and outline how a study plan can be devised.
Your study plan should take the format you find most workable and accessible, be it a table in a Word document, a spreadsheet, a written list, or a diary.
It is wise to begin with a plan showing the entire study period and to then populate detail on a periodic (perhaps weekly) basis. For each period of study, you should identify a goal and an indication of duration.
This is a simple example.
Study Plan for Principles of Insurance Qualification
|Week 1||Module 1|
|Week 2||Modules 2 & 3|
|Week 3||Module 4|
|Week 4||Module 4|
|Week 5||Module 5|
|Week 6||Module 6|
|Week 7||Module 7 & 8|
|Week 8||Module 9|
|Week 9||Module 9|
|Week 10||Module 9 (complete) & Module 10|
Weekly Study Plan for Principles of Insurance Qualification
|Week 1 – Goals||Module 1– Goals|
|Monday 6pm till completed||Introduction, Section A, Section B|
|Wednesday pm||Go to college for afternoon tutorial session|
|Saturday 10 – 12pm||Sections C, D & Module Assessment|
Where possible, consider your preferred learning style. For example, if you are learning for memorisation purposes (e.g. an examination) and you have an auditory preference, purchase course materials in audiotape format, or prepare an audiotape for yourself.
Alternatively, take on board the theory of Felder and Silverman and look to expand your preferences by trying different learning techniques.
Whatever your learning style, spending long hours studying is not necessarily productive and it is possible to achieve better results through more effective and efficient study, rather than by quantity.
It is useful to plan the length of your study periods by the amount of material you have decided to cover (perhaps a section or an element), not by the clock. For some of us, time can be a distraction rather than an aide. Of course, if you finish earlier than expected, you are entitled to a reward or a rest!
When you allocate time to a subject of study, it is important to identify what is really needed. A chapter of a text-book may appear to be lengthy and time consuming, however, much of the content may be lists or tables rather than text.
If you are studying without a mandatory text-book (usually a non-institute activity) and are required to do your own reading and research, make sure you know how the syllabus is constructed and don’t waste time on areas that are not important or relevant.
Set clear goals and work towards these – if your plan incorporates a breakdown of chapters or elements this gives you focus and a goal. Some find it helpful to draw up a session plan for each period of study with aims and objectives sketched out. The level of detail will depend on your individual preference and needs.
Although not easy to estimate, it is important to allow for emergencies too – just in case. This means not cramming everything in at the last minute or creating yourself a study plan that is simply too demanding and leaves no contingency time.
One final point is to allow time in your study plan for review of how things are going, perhaps after a week or two when you are up and running.
Using the list you devised in the activity for section 4, and with reference to the example study plan, put together a study plan for a current, planned or past learning activity.