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‘The Learning Organiser’ by Mike Tilling


The Learning Organiser.
By Mike Tilling.
Gower, 1999. A4 ringbinder, 339 pages, £150.
ISBN 0 566 08156 3

This publication is the first in what is promised to be a series entitled ‘Organiser’. It was for me an exciting and potentially very valuable change from the traditional run of collections of activities or session guides. It developed from a TEC-sponsored programme in which it was apparent that trainees in some organizations were learning for effectively than in others. The publication sets out to provide standardised planning tools and information, and highlight the good features of training provider organizations. The pack is aimed at both the training provider/facilitator and the individual learner.

The contents are divided into 20 units ranging from such topics as getting started, about learning, what to expect from a learning provider; through learning resources, portfolio development, and note-taking; to reading and writing, preparing for tests and examinations and evaluating training. Each unit has a consistent format of Unit Concept – what the unit is all about, Unit Context – a detailed description of the material that can be used in this topic and Using the Materials – guidance to the provider when working with a group or an individual. A number of ‘Trainee Pages’ follow this introductory guidance, the pages including questionnaires, checklists, activities, case studies, etc. As a result the material can be built into a learning skills training programme, a support for key skills implementation, part of an induction programme, or as a coaching aid.

An example of the units is Unit 2 – Focusing on the future. The Unit Concept is concerned with creating a vision and describes the unit as an exploration of how trainers can help trainees formulate this vision. The Unit Context considers the ways in which the unit will offer methods of developing a vision; barriers to forming a vision; supporting change in developing a vision; a trainer activity in the change/envisioning cycle; and a trainer activity involving Johari. The Trainee Pages in this Unit contain seven activities: self-assessment of things the learner really likes doing and those they dislike – these are used in assessing future action by removing/developing some of the items; envisioning the future checklist; a personal vision; representing their vision as a picture; making the vision real by considering successful people and how their actions would influence the learner’s behaviour; assessing aims and objectives by critically reviewing aims and objectives to which the learner has access; my aims and objectives – a final assessment and summary of the learner’s aims and objectives for the future.

The pack contains a wealth of activity for trainers themselves, for trainers involved in producing and running training programmes, and for a wide range of individuals engaged in self-development. The author is to be congratulated on producing such an interesting, exciting and valuable resource which bodes well for future similar collections. Well recommended.

Leslie Rae
September 1999


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