Lesson 1, Topic 1
In Progress

1.11. Understand and use the layout and presentation of learning materials

ryanrori January 24, 2021

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Books that are designed as learning resources are also organised to assist learning, by helping us find the information we need. 

The most important of these features are:

Contents page
Table of Contents:Page
1What are Comfort Zones? And Why should we escape?1
2Mapping out your journey9
3Stage 1: What exactly is a Comfort Zone?14
4Stage 2: Preparing yourself for the Escape76
5Stage 3: Taking time out to get to know yourself142
6Stage 4: Stimulating the motivation and readiness for change206
7Stage 5: Getting in touch with yourself by living in the “Now” moment216
8Stage 6: The vital importance of a mentor/soul mate/guide246
9Stage 7: The final nudge – action and integration267

The contents page is found near the front of the book, just after the title page. The contents page lists the chapters of the book, and the chapter titles give us an overview of the main focuses of the book.

If a book deals with a topic that is important for your field of study, it is very useful to make a photocopy of the contents pages (there is usually more than one page of contents) and keep that filed as a record of what is available, for future reference.


The index is a most useful tool in research. When we are selecting a book for purposes of doing research, the first thing we look at is the title, which gives us a general idea of the topic it deals with. We then go to the contents page to see whether it covers the aspects of the topic that will be useful to us in our research. If we decide that the book will be of use, we finally go to the index to locate the detailed aspects of the topic that we need. The index is at the back of the book. It is a detailed listing of all the items dealt with in the book, together with the page(s) on which those items can be found.

Sometimes the page numbers will be printed in bold print. This may mean that these are the pages where the item is the main topic, or it may mean that these are the pages on which you will find illustrations. To find out, go to the top (i.e. first page) of the index and there will be a note explaining how the numbering system works.


Many reference books also have a glossary at the back of the book. This is an alphabetical list of the specialised or technical terms used in the book. This is like a mini-dictionary and it is sometimes worth photocopying these glossary pages too, to build up your own technical vocabulary.

AccrualsExpenses incurred, but not yet billed to the firm
AssetsThe term comes from the work ‘assez’, meaning ‘enough’. It is used because the property of a proprietor is judged in terms of whether it is sufficient to discharge his liabilities, i.e.: to settle his debts.
Bad debtsDebts which a firm regards as uncollectible.
Balance SheetA listing of the ledger balances remaining after compilation of the revenue account.
Cash bookThe book in which records of cash and banking transactions are made.
Credit NoteA document which reverses the effect of an invoice
DebtorsPeople or firms who owe money to the business
DividendsShares of profit paid to shareholders
DrawingsThe retrieval of capital by a proprietor or partners for private use.
Early settlement discountA discount allowed to customers as an enticement to pay their bills o time.
Electronic texts

Electronic texts such as CDs, DVDs and web pages on the Internet are laid out in fields, such as boxes or columns. When we are reading the text, instead of turning the page as we would in a book, we scroll down the screen. In a book, if we want to go to any section dealing with a specific topic, we find it by using the contents page or the index, and then physically turning to that page. In an electronic text, the material is organised to make this easy. There are menus, boxes and icons (little symbols) on which we can click to locate the given topic. In this way we can navigate the document and make cross-references. 

Engage with technical language / terminology

In any field of study, there is a vocabulary or terminology that is specific to that field- its technical language or jargon. Groups that have a similar interest, like trades and professions, commonly use jargon. Using jargon can be advantageous, as it can make it easier for a person to communicate with fellow employees.  For example, someone going for a job interview at a contact centre would use terminology relevant to contact centre practice to show expertise in the field.  Generally speaking, jargon, in its most positive light, can be seen as professional, efficient shorthand. 

Part of learning about any subject is learning its unique language. It is important to understand the meaning of new words because you are then learning the concepts or ideas that they are referring to. This understanding will develop as you use the terms in their context, and successful learning of a subject is linked to learning the language of that subject in a meaningful way.

In your studies you will therefore come across many new words. When you hear a term or read a word you do not understand, you need to make a note of that word. It is likely that you will have an idea of its meaning from the context, but in order to check its meaning, you can ask a colleague, or go to a resource (print or electronic dictionary) and look it up. 

Many technical terms are not found in an ordinary dictionary, but there are dictionaries or glossaries of terms that are specialised for a particular field of study. 

Finally, you should keep your own glossary of terms, and add to it as you acquire new terms. This is especially helpful if you are learning in a language that is not your mother tongue.