Are you a student? Then The 12 Apps of Christmas 2015 is for you! Read this short page before you unwrap the apps!

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As students, you are bombarded every day with a lot of subject specific information that is presented to you by your lecturers and tutors. In addition to this, you gather further information yourself when you undertake any personal research online or access and read suggested books or journal articles in the library. To get a handle on all of this information and to make the best possible use of the time available to you for studying, you need to be able to tailor this information to suit your own specific learning needs, interests and abilities. This process is part and parcel of personalising your learning experience.The rest of this short page will explain briefly what is meant by this and how to get started, before outlining how following The 12 Apps of Christmas could help you do it. Your lecturers also have an important role to play in helping you personalise your learning experience and so we will be asking them to take part in The 12 Apps of Christmas too and we will provide them with some additional resources to help them create the environment within which personalised learning can take place.

What is personalised learning?

Personalised learning is built around the fact that everyone is unique and that we all learn in different ways. When you learn in a way that suits you, you are much more likely to both understand and retain that new knowledge. So...

  • understanding what your preferred learning style is, is the first step to personalising your learning experience,

  • then you can then go on to choose tools and technologies that can help you access, organise and manipulate information, and subsequently engage with it, in ways that suit your preferred learning style.

  • developing a personal learning network is also part of personalising your learning experience and that means tapping into your fellow students and realising that they are a valuable learning resource also. There is a wide variety of social networking tools at your disposal that can help you connect and communicate with others to create, share, and remix content and other learning resources. Regardless of our preferred learning style, research has shown that we all benefit from learning with others, creating and sharing knowledge together.  

STEP 1

The first step to personalising your learning experience is to discover how you learn best. Once you understand how you learn best, you’ll be able to personalise the information being shared with you so that you can study more easily. So, do you like to draw diagrams or mindmaps as you study? Maybe you remember easily interesting stories and examples? Do you like to discuss topics/issues with others or do you prefer to write things down and make lists? Or maybe you enjoy hands-on field trips and practical lab work the most? Take 10 minutes right now to discover what your prefered learning style is by filling out this short questionnaire online. Links are provided on that site also that will explain more about your preferred learning style as well as providing some suggested strategies for making the most of it when it comes to studying. It’s well worth taking the time to do.

STEP 2

Now that you know what your preferred learning style is and you’ve read a little bit about it, you need to take just a few moments to take that information and categorise it for yourself under the three specific headings (a) access, (b) engage, and (c) express *. To explain:

  1. How do you like to access and process information?

  2. How do you like to engage with that information?

  3. How do you prefer to express your knowledge and understanding of that information?



Consider this example for someone who is an Auditory Learner

Access

I take in information well when I can...

  • listen to others talk about class subjects/topics/issues

  • discuss topics in class and explain new ideas to others

  • listen to podcasts on various topics

Engage

To study and reflect on content presented to me I like to...

  • read my notes out loud

  • make podcasts of my notes so that I can listen back to them

  • talk through a topic with someone to check my understanding of it

  • get someone to test me by asking me questions

Express

When asked to demonstrate what I know and understand, I’d prefer to be able to:

  • give an oral presentation

  • create and submit a recording rather than write a summary of a topic

  • get involved in a debate

STEP 3

Now that you have more of an understanding of how you access, engage with, and express information best, decide what your immediate and long term learning goals are that you going to strive to achieve. For example, what do you want to, and need to, achieve in the next week/fortnight/semester in terms of your own learning? You decide. Keep your goals updated. Take control of your learning.

STEP 4

Now you can move on to choosing tools and technologies that will help you achieve your learning goals while playing to the strengths of your preferred learning style. When choosing these tools and technologies, you need to evaluate if they will help you access, engage with, or express information in ways that suits your learning style. This is where The 12 Apps of Christmas comes in.

Over the first 12 weekdays of December you will be introduced to a number of very different apps that you could use effectively to help you access and engage with information and express effectively what you know. Begin the process of personalising your learning experience now and succeed in your studies.


With the different learning styles in mind, each app will be reviewed under the headings access, engage and express, and will include some ideas on how to make the app work for you. By reviewing the apps in this way, we are also giving you an easy strategy that you can continue to use to evaluate any other apps that you come across to see if they suit your preferred learning style and help you address your personal learning needs and achieve your learning goals.


Over the 12 days, please share your thoughts and comments on the apps with everyone either via Twitter, using #12appsDIT, or by posting a comment on the website www.dit.ie/the12appsofchristmas. We look forward to your feedback and you never know what tips you might pick up from fellow students.

* Access, Engage, and Express is a trademark of Personalize Learning, LLC

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