One set of ideas that seems to relate significantly, to my learning and transition from the SIPAC course to the professional working environment, is the idea that there is a ‘deep’ approach and a ‘surface approach to learning (Marton, Hounsell and Entwistle, 1997). The surface approach relates to the idea that the material presented to the student is only memorized for what it is and there is no real intention to research the deeper meaning and relate this to previous ideas. The information seems to be taken in, and ‘filed’ for only a short period but not retained for further learning or study. This idea was prominent during my time on the SIPAC course. It could be said that during the 14 week course there was an information overload. I retained information to pass exams, frantically taking notes at every moment as I soon realized after beginning to course that there would be no time to let information sink in during the working day. I soon realized after leaving the SIPAC that I was able to carry out a wide range of tasks, usually following my notes, with successful outcomes but could not explain to my customers why I had done what I had or what implication it may have. On completion of the SIPAC course and moving to my first posting I soon realized that I now had time. I was able to move to the other extreme of the continuum and apply a deep approach to learning and begin to understand the meaning of the material I had learnt. I was able to now able to integrate my notes and previous learning to a more practical environment, where my actions had wide implications on real people, altering and reconsidering understanding where necessary through discovery.
I soon discovered the value of the Kolb cycle and the idea that learning is enhanced through ‘doing’ representing learning in a meaningful activity that might for example affect someones pay upgrading my surface learning to more meaningful material with the help of my superiors and more experienced peers. The new working environment I was now in enabled me to:
Have an experience (Concrete experiencing)
Try out what I had learnt (Active experimentation)
Learn from my experience (Active conceptualizing)
Reflect on my experience (Reflective observation)
Learning was halted at the ‘Concrete experiencing’ stage when on the SIPAC course, I was soon able to ‘upgrade’ this learning though when at my new posting, reprocessing ideas through reflection and fusing them with a wider understanding (Vygotsky, 1978).
On reflection if the SIPAC course had allowed for more time to process the information we were given, I believe, I would have gone into my first posting a lot better prepared as I believe that learning is strongly enforced through representing and discovery through the