Personal Reflection on Learning and Development Assignments

Personal Reflection on Learning and Development Assignments

Personal Reflection on Learning and Development Assignments

Introduction

Learning is always an exciting and novel experience and it enriches an individual from deep within. This applies for both academic as well as non-academic learning. The more one learns, the more fulfilled and informed a person becomes in every sense of the term. I like to keep track of my learning experiences and to do so I maintain a weekly blog. In this blog, I enter in all of my everyday learning experiences, both at school and away from school so that I can read them later, reflect on them, absorb them and move on to embrace new industry experiences. Maintaining a learning blog is a lot of fun for me as writing is something that comes to be quite naturally and it is what I am very fond of doing. It gives me great pleasure to write as well as to read again what I write. This essay details my blog entries over eight weeks, with every blog entry containing an elaborate description of all the learning activities and experiences that I encounter on a weekly basis.

Design Thinking Unit

Week 1

This was one of the most exhilarating weeks for me as a student as the focus of this week’s activity was on the innovative approaches that are undertaken by valuable and well known business enterprises or companies for business development and expansion. As a part of the activity, the entire class was divided into different teams with each team having to select two business stories and enter into a discussion about the differences, successes, commonalities and failures about the businesses (Curedale, 2018). Once our discussion was over, we were expected to provide answers to two specific questions. The team that I was part of chose to have a discussion on Blackberry and Apple phones primarily because many of us are using these types of phones hence we found the topic to be quite interesting to work on. By reading in detail about the stories of both the Blackberry and Apple companies, I got to learn about the innovative techniques that were used by both companies to make use of the latest technology and dominate the mobile phone market. I learnt that since Apple way more innovative than Blackberry, it was able to quickly come up with exciting new products that got the attention of customers whereas Blackberry on the other hand took a considerable length of time to progress to cell phones from the key pad phones and then finally onto the smart phones. An important thing that I learnt as a part of this week’s activity on reading and discussing innovative business stories is that both Apple and Blackberry are companies that had to change with time and adapt to changing circumstances or situations in order to survive and thrive in the mobile phone market. Without innovation, both companies could not have reached the position these are in today.

Week 2

This week, we engaged in activity that informed us about mindset, perceptions and core values. The activity that we undertook this week was something that I found particularly useful as I got to learn about exactly the type of mindset that is needed in order to progress on the path of success. I learnt about the tough frame of mind or mentality that must be developed in order to survive against all odds, and to put up a fight to the finish even when in a situation where we are on the losing side (Fischer, 2015). Both good decision skills and positive thinking are capable of influencing perception in a positive way and I also learnt how it is possible for a person to engage in the provision of commendable services both at the place of work as well as in one’s personal life. Another important thing that I learnt as a part of this week’s activity is that it is imperative and essential to coordinate with team members in order to get work done on time and smoothly. This is especially necessary if we are to stand out in our roles when part of a group or a team. Friction with other group members or team members only leads to disharmony and prevents us from carrying out our duties successfully, thus hampering the work and the goals of the group as a whole. As a result of what I learnt this week, I was able to get all my assignments completed on time. I was able to develop a positive frame of mind and never say die attitude that I needed for this purpose. I learnt that just about anything in the world can be achieved if one tends to think positively and that even the greatest of difficulties in life can be overcome if we are positive in our outlook to life (Glen et al., 2016).

Week 3

This week was one where we spent most of our time engaged in a number of fun filled activities. Most of the activities were quite intellectually stimulating and made us think out of the box quite a bit. There were three primary activities that we had to undertake this week, all of which required us to use our own perceptions and ideas and brainstorm about quick and easy solutions to the problems posed by the activities that were given to us. The very first activity required us to make use of thirty circles in order to create something and I spent long and hard thinking about something unique to create. The second activity involved brain storming quite a bit. We had to ponder deeply about various images that were displayed before us on a screen. All of us had to think very analytically about the images that were shown to us after which we were to come up with ideas about the pictures shown and suggest solutions to the problems that were indicated by the images. I had a whole lot of fun and got to learn that single ideas or situations can be perceived in different ways by different people. I realized that if I am ever a part of a team that is faced with problems or difficulties, then such difficulties can be overcome by brainstorming and thinking out of the box in collective fashion (Gould, 2018). The third activity which we engaged in this week involved creating pathways to events. I learnt how to create a flowchart that charted out my entire plan of work for my master’s degree. Designing and creating a flow chart requires a considerable about of deep thinking and I tried to come up with the most unique flow chart to represent my thoughts, ideas and work plan for my master’s degree studies.

Week 4

This is a week where we had to engage in plenty of intellectual stimulation to understand the adverse impact that was being created on the environment by the Adani coal mining group. There were a number of research tools that we had to make use of like brain storming and observatory tools in order to hit upon solutions to the problem statement, which was primarily, the terrible impact on the environment that was being created as a result of Adani coal mining activities. We had to make use of tools known as journey maps for the same. Upon conducting researching using these different tools, we were able to discover some of the ways by which the environment is indeed impacted by such coal mining activities. What I got to learn as a part of the work that we did in this week the harmful gases that are released into the environment as a result of coal mining activities, especially carbon dioxide, are those that are affecting the environment adversely, especially in places like the northern parts of Queensland. We had to think about solutions that could be implemented in order to combat such a problem such as the use of a filter that is capable of absorbing all the harmful gases and which helps in allowing only the release of toxin free air into the environment. Such filtered air could keep the environment from becoming polluted to the extent that it is as a result of such coal mining activities. This week’s activity was one of the most enriching learning experiences for me as I understood a lot about environmental preservation and conservation, especially the types of tools that can be put in place to research on the topic as well as to derive solutions that could be used to counter the problem of environmental degradation (Von Thienen et al., 2017).

Week 5

This was a very interesting week as we got to learn about the important tools that need to be implemented in order to carry out value chain analysis. Some of the essential things that I got to learn as a part of this week’s activity are mind mapping, sequential questions and thinking outside the box. I for one chose to make use of the mind mapping tool for this week’s work largely because of the fact that I am already familiar with the tool as I use it a lot for my master’s degree work. I find mind mapping to be a particularly useful tool as it helps in conveying information quite easily. It is a logical and creative way by which notes can be taken (Oxman, 2017). Note making can greatly help in mapping out ideas, I believe. Since I make use of this tool a lot when fulfilling all my master’s degree requirements I am fully aware of both the pros and the cons that are associated with the use of this tool. However, since my classmates chose to use other tools in order to carry out their value chain analysis work, I got to know about the several other tools that can be used in this respect. I entered into a detailed discussion with them in order to understand how they were going to use the tools that they can chosen for value chain analysis and what the benefits of using such tools were. What I learnt as a result of this week’s activity is that such tools can prove to be very useful when it comes to procuring information as well as analyzing such information. The tools which I learnt about using this week helped me to do my second assignment in class quite successfully, as the task required putting such tools to use.

Week 6

This week was spent in undertaking activities pertaining to conceptual designing and interview designing as well as rapid prototyping. As a part of the activity on rapid prototyping I had to create a paper boat that could remain stable in water and which was capable of handling powerful sea wind when exposed to it (Serrat, 2017). What I learnt as a part of the activity is that we are capable of collectively coming up with solutions to problems through the designing of different projects and by making simple modifications to designs. Some of my peers in class ended up creating designs such as different designs of umbrella’s, shirts and ice cream cones. We were also divided into teams and made to interview one another and in the process I got to learn that if we are observant and attentive enough to what the interviewer is saying or asking, then we can immediately hit upon the right answer to that interview question. It is also possible to think of ways and means by which interview questions can be answered better than usual. I event learnt as a part of such activity that at times, interview answers need to be elaborate upon or mentioned in detail so that the person who is interviewing is able to understand what is being said, better. I believe that what I got to learn this week is very crucial for both my personal and professional development as it has given me the confidence and an understanding of how to answer interview questions in the best possible way(Eriksen, 2018). I normally get quite nervous before an interview, and am usually not able to say exactly what I want to in the process. By undertaking this week’s activity, I have now gathered the skills and the ability to answer interview questions in exactly the way that these are supposed to be answered (Creswell & Clarke, 2017).

Week 7

This week’s activity was similar to the previous week’s activity about prototyping (Krukowski et al., 2016). This time around we were divided into different teams once again and were made to interpret their ideas or views of the activity that they had taken in the last week. I was teamed up with the person who had designed the ice cream cone and I got to learn that the whole idea of making a cone in the first place is to help the person who is eating ice cream to enjoy the ice cream without having it melt in their hands. The design was innovated and created by my team member in a manner that even if the ice cream starts melting, it will not stick to the hands of the person who is eating the ice cream. We were made to ask each other empathetic questions in order to understand each other better when interviewing one another, and especially get a good grasp of the market structure of the questions being asked. What I asked my peer member to do as a part of this week’s activity was to describe his daily routine to me. The answer that he gave me made me realize that both coherence and fluency are needed if points are to be made with clarity in the interview process. Once again, the learning experience that I was made to undergo this week is something that proved to be very useful for me at the professional and the personal level. I got to understand how to be clear and concise when asking interview questions and answering interview questions. I believe I will now be able to face and handle interviews a lot better than I was able to in the past, especially since I now know what to do in order to answer interview questions in the best possible way (Zeh, 2015).

Week 8

We were made to take part in group presentations in the class as a part of this week’s activity. All the groups had unique and difficult problem statements of their own and different tools were made use of by all the groups to analyze as well as solve the problems. There was one group that had to create an umbrella which was capable enough of withstanding torrential rainfall. Ribs were used by the group members at the umbrella’s nobs in the front in order to make the umbrella powerful enough to withstand strong gusts of wind and rain. A prototype of umbrella was also shown to us by this group (Melles et al., 2015). Yet another group presented on the communal violence that is rampant in Indian society today. All the group members made use of a diverse range of tools and asked important questions like what, why and how in order to arrive at solutions to the problems that they were faced with. Mind mapping tools and tools like journey mapping were utilized for this purpose. When I watched all the presentations that were made by each and every gtoup, I got to understand exactly how such tools were to be used in order to derive information that could solve the problems posed. I got to learn about the demerits and the merits of each and every tool that was used and discussed as a part of the group presentations (Liedtka, 2015).

Unit Experience Analysis

Upon looking back at all the activities that I undertook in all the weeks mentioned, I realize that there was a lot of experience that I gathered in the process. I can definitely conclude that design thinking is a very useful tool, which I can put to use when solving problems of a diverse nature, be it social problems, economic problems or psychological problems. By going through all the experiences that I did in the class, I am able to now identify and analyze problems and also find solutions in order to resolve these problems. I can now look to improve considerably on both the professional and the personal front, as a result of everything I learnt in the classroom.

Action Plan

Goals

Activities

Time frame

Rationale

Building up an empathetic approach

Undertaking suitable interaction sessions with the customers in order to identify the issues that are faced by the same

Placing oneself in the position of the client in order to understand the situation that is faced by the same

2 – 3months

The identification of the issues will be helping the designer in enhancing the designs as per the needs of the customers

Building on the adaptive nature

Identifying the issues and thereby complying with the needs of the customers

Exposing oneself to different challenges and thereby formulating different strategies in order to mitigate the same

1- 7 weeks

The adaptive nature of the designer will be helping the same in maintaining the proficiency at work while operating as per the needs of the customers in different situations

Developing insights of suitable mind mapping and journey mapping techniques

Identification of the issues

Understanding the most viable steps that would help in mitigating the challenges.

Creating predecessors to the steps in order to create the critical journey planning

4- 9 weeks

The development of the mind mapping and journey mapping insights will be helping the designer in enhancing the operations of the same through the identification of the issues faced by the designer

Conclusion

Thus, blogs are definitely a unique platform that we get to record our experiences in the everyday. Blogs help us to express our thoughts and feelings when doing what we do, and it is also far easier to record and to maintain than an actual diary. I am glad that I chronicle all my positive learning experiences in a blog as it helps me to reflect on these experiences in the best possible way.

References

1. Fischer, M. (2015). Design it! Solving sustainability problems by applying design thinking. GAIA-Ecological Perspectives for Science and Society24(3), 174-178Curedale, R. (2018). Design Thinking: Process & Methods Guide. Design Community College Incorporated
2. Glen, R., Suciu, C., Baughn, C. C., & Anson, R. (2015). Teaching design thinking in business schools. The International Journal of Management Education13(2), 182-192.
3. Gould, J. M. (2018). Are “U” Ready for the Future: Design Thinking as a Critical Educational Leadership Skill. In Engaged Leadership (pp. 281-296). Springer, Cham
4. Liedtka, J. (2015). Perspective: Linking design thinking with innovation outcomes through cognitive bias reduction. Journal of Product Innovation Management32(6), 925-938.
5. Melles, G., Anderson, N., Barrett, T., & Thompson-Whiteside, S. (2015). Problem finding through design thinking in education. In Inquiry-Based Learning for Multidisciplinary Programs: A Conceptual and Practical Resource for Educators (pp. 191-209). Emerald Group Publishing Limited.
6. Oxman, R. (2017). Thinking difference: Theories and models of parametric design thinking. Design Studies52, 4-39
7. Serrat, O. (2017). Design thinking. In Knowledge Solutions(pp. 129-134). Springer, Singapore.
8. Von Thienen, J., Royalty, A., & Meinel, C. (2017). Design thinking in higher education: How students become dedicated creative problem solvers. In Handbook of research on creative problem-solving skill development in higher education (pp. 306-328). IGI Global.
9. Zeh, M. (2015). The Key Roles of Stories and Prototypes in Design Thinking. Design Thinking: New Product Development Essentials from the PDMA, 87-104.