By Rikke Haslund Jønsson, Junior Researcher
My research process in ETHOS Lab started with the desire to find a way to organize and optimize individual learning for myself and other students as a reaction to the focus on group lectures and group work. I found that we were expected to know how we study optimally when we – the students – are on our own, which I experienced not to be the case.
I wanted to analyze how individuals learn on their own compared to a more structured and set learning space in a classroom. Due to my connection to ETHOS Lab, researching NavCom-Radio and Python Study Group become my primary focus as alternative learning sites, but with Covid, communication troubles, and time restraints my attempts and initial ideas did not lead to any outcome.
I then found the direction which I presented in my last blog post. I believed that having a better understanding of the individual’s abilities could be a fruitful starting point when designing a learning process. However, as it is with most research the answer was more complex.
Opening Another Door
Breaking away from the schematic theory of classifying one learning style per individual, I reflected on learning styles as rather being a spectrum, which turned out to be supported by several research papers. The key takeaway is that multiple learning styles (especially if it includes a visual format) will be best for most people. Even if one finds that they prefer verbal learning, you will still benefit from receiving information through multiple formats.
With this knowledge, it of course felt nice to be confirmed in my theory but having changed directions multiple times to get to this theoretical outlook, and now having to reflect on my direction once again took a lot of motivation and energy from me.
After this blog post, I wanted to further research the different types of learning and how they could complement the individual learning process. As I had acquired more knowledge about the learning styles, several different focal points appeared to me on how an individual can customize their own experience and thereby get a better outcome. As there are so many different directions and options to explore, I found it difficult to know where to start, and what I was looking for. Despite having some of the initial research limited down, I experienced how the issue is still rather vast when trying to scope the project.
The Process Shows the Context
There is so much great research out there, and after having been presented to just a fraction, I have come to understand how complex even just finding my focus and niche can be. My entire process as a Junior Researcher can be said to be a reflection of some of all the challenges and possibilities a researcher can encounter, while simply trying to narrow down a research question.
While thinking that one door closed, it just sheds light on all the other wide-open doors. Before giving much thought to my process, I would then just try a new random direction that looked interesting, not considering the specific routes and destination that I desired.
So before trying to find the ideal learning process, I believe that I need to make a research design, to give myself a focus and thereby a place to start. All this with the understanding that it will be a complex experience with many options and best of all, a lot of knowledge to gain.