Lesson 1, Topic 1
In Progress

3.3 Use Language & Communication In Occupational Learning Programmes

ryanrori June 19, 2020

[responsivevoice_button rate=”0.9″ voice=”UK English Female” buttontext=”Listen to Post”]

1 Access, Use & Manage Suitable Learning Resources

1.1 The Focus In This Section Is On Learning Resources, & This Section Will Look In Particular At What These Are & How To Select Them As Effectively As Possible To Help Learning.

First, we should understand what we mean by ‘learning’. Learning happens when we acquire any new knowledge, skill, attitude or value that changes how we think or do things, or even feel about a subject. When we have learned something, we have better skills in doing something, we have more knowledge about it, we have a different attitude towards it, and perhaps our values have changed in some way.

A learning resource contains information for learning. When we use any resource to get information, it becomes a learning resource.

Activity 1Now check that you understand the definition of learning resources by answering the questions in your workbook.

Relevant learning resources are identified.

The learning resource that you will probably be most familiar with is the textbook that you had at school. This contained information on a particular subject that you were required to learn. We will look at a wide range of learning resources, but let us first look at where we can go to find large numbers of learning resources

  1.  Resource centres: Most communities have well equipped resource centres such as libraries
  2. Literature: Books, magazines, newspapers.
  3. Internet:
  • The Internet is open – No-one owns the Internet, it is open to anyone who has the tools and skill to use it.
  • The Internet is distributed – The information on the Internet is spread over several servers. There is no point of control.
  • The Internet is dynamic – The information on the Internet changes all the time.
  • The Internet is globally accessible- No matter where you are you can access the internet if you have the necessary tools.
  • The Internet is asynchronous – E-mail and computer conferencing are examples.
  • The Internet is filtered – Users can become anonymous.
  • The Internet is interactive – Opportunity to interact.
  • The Internet is archival – Permanent records available in libraries, mailing lists etc.
  • The Internet is an hypermedia environment

4.Other people: Field specialists, lecturers, friends and family.

 Activity 2: Identify more learning resources and make a list in the space provided in your workbooks.

1.2 Learning Resources Are Used Effectively & Managed Through Appropriate Selection & Cross-referencing Of Information & Acknowledgement Of Sources.

We have looked at what a learning resource is, what kinds there are and where you might find them.

We will now look at using learning resources in the most effective way. This means finding the best resources for your purpose, making the best use of those resources and, lastly, knowing how to acknowledge the resources you have used.

To decide which is the best kind of resource to use for a particular task, we need to look more closely at the kinds of resources we have discussed, and ask ourselves some critical questions about how they are suitable for different tasks.

There are differences between using printed material (e.g. books or magazines), electronic sources (e.g. the internet or DVD’s) and people as learning resources. Each kind has its advantages, and will suit certain needs. On the other hand, a learning resource that suits one need may not suit another. Here are some characteristics of each kind of learning resource:


Resource Advantages Limitations

Reliable because publisher is accountable for its quality Specialised information, accessible through contents page and index


Reliability can be checked through publish

Information may become out-of-date
Magazine Articles give information in a reader friendly way


Adverts can be informative

Up-to-date at first but individual copies soon out-of-date
Internet Massive amount of information, mostly free

Information on a wide range of topics

Search-engines can trawl for information

Websites contain links for easy cross- reference

New information constantly being added to, so is up-to-date


No controls over publishing on internet, therefore information may be unreliable

Slow, so can be expensive to use (phone time)

Amount of material available can make finding precise information difficult

DVD Can contain much information

Has various formats: print, pictures, sound, films

Can be expensive to buy
People Interactive: you can ask questions and get explanations You must judge reliability

 You can probably think of many more points, but notice that one thing that keeps coming up is reliability. When you are using learning resources, a key factor is how accurate the information is. The internet, in particular, can give you a lot of information but you have to use your judgement as regards the reliability of that information. An important factor is to use credible websites i.e. websites that are recommended, established and reliable.

Another factor in choosing a learning resource is its suitability to the task. The following exercise asks you to make decisions about the main kind of resource you would use for a particular task

Activity 3: In column A there are some tasks and in column B there are different kinds of learning resources. Think about each task, and think about each resource. Decide which resource would be most suitable for each task
Column A Column B
  • You are studying Early Childhood Development and need to find a film that shows the different art activities you can do with the children in action
  • You want to know how ECD practitioners in your area consult with each other about marketing their pre-schools
  •  You need guidance on how to approach a written assignment
  • You want to find the meaning of a word
  • You are enrol in a new learning programme and want to get some information about it and the company that is facilitating it
  • You want to find out what recent products are being advertised for the South African market
  • You have an assignment on the structure and functions of the cells of a leaf.

Reference book





Local person with suitable experience


Note that this Activity has been given to get you thinking about the strengths and limitations of different resources. In practice, it is most important that when you are doing research, you make use of a variety of resources

Acknowledging resources

A critical point to bear in mind when doing research is that whenever you use that information in writing up or presenting your research you must acknowledge the source of that information. This is extremely important for two reasons. One is that whoever reads your writing may want to follow up on a point. The other, more serious reason is that using information without stating where it came from is seen in the same way as taking something from another person without their permission. In the academic world this is termed plagiarism, and it is seen as theft. For that reason, when you are using any print resource, always keep a record of the resource as you make your notes, because you will have to acknowledge any resource you use (in your Bibliography). Printouts from the internet automatically have the source printed at the top, but you must not forget to acknowledge it in your own presentation.

What information do you need in order to acknowledge a resource?

For a book, you need the title (underlined), author/s, publisher, date and place of publication. The title, author and publisher are found on the title page of the book, and the place and date of publication are on the next page. For example:

Graeme Smith
Paperback, 243 pages, March 2009
Published by Jonathan Ball Publishers

Acknowledgement of this book would therefore be written:

Smith; G: A Captain’s Diary 2007 – 2009, Jonathan Bell Publishers, 2009

To acknowledge an article in a journal, give the title of the article, the name of the journal (underlined), its year, the volume and number, and the page numbers

E.g.     SABIE Report, South African Bee Journal 2003 Volume 75 No. 3, p. 87

When you use an internet site, you write out the website address, for example: The SA Agricultural Research Council: www.arc.agric.za

The Food and Agricultural Organisation of the United Nations www.fao.org

If you use the webpage from a site, include that in the reference

E.g. The business page of the SABC: www.Sabcnews.co.za/economy/business

Activity 4: Investigating your local library

Go into your local library and look for the following: (if necessary ask the librarian for help)

  • Magazine section — find 3 magazines that are relevant to your course
  • Bookshelves — find the section on as many of the following subjects as you can:
  • Project Management
  • Art Activities for Pre-Schoolers
  • Teenagers and drug abuse
  • Gardening
  • Select any book, and write down its reference details: title, author or authors, publisher, place of publication and date of (Hint: for title, author, publisher — look at title page. Turn this page over to find the place and date of publication).
  • Write a sentence to say why you selected this book (whether for its language medium / appearance / title / subject / pictures etc.)
  • Select 2 other books and write down their reference details as above.
  • What system does this library use if anyone wants to find a book – electronic or card retrieval system?
  • Is the internet available here?
  • Are there any video or electronic resources? If not, is the library planning to get any

2 Formulate & Use Learning Strategies

2.1 Learning Strategies Are Formulated By Selection Of Specific Tried Techniques.

  1. Brainstorming

Purpose: To quickly gain a lot of ideas from a group without getting caught up in detailed discussion.


  1. Begin by asking the group to think of as many ideas as they can about the topic in question. You can give them several minutes for this.
  2. Go around the group asking each person to briefly state his/her idea. The ideas can be captured using rich pictures, nominal group technique, mind mapping or card techniques. Everybody’s ideas should be treated equally at this stage. Do not let people start debating each others ideas.
  3. Once all of the ideas have been noted somewhere visible to everyone (e.g., on a flip chart or chalkboard), then there can be some analysis.
  4. The emerging issues, topics and questions can be grouped, sorted and prioritised later.

Advantages & Disadvantages

It’s a quick and enjoyable process. It stimulates involvement and cross-fertilisation of ideas. However, most ideas are contributed from a few quick-thinking people.


  • Note that this method does not, on its own, suffice as a data gathering or analysis method.
  • This method can work with small or larger groups and can take as little as five minutes, depending on the subject, detail needed and number of people. A brainstorming session should not take very long, as it really is only meant to get out ideas that can be discussed in detail later.
  • People find it very difficult not to comment or evaluate when ideas are generated in a brainstorm. Set a rule at the beginning that all judgements made during the brainstorm will be ruled out until a later discussion. As with most group discussion methods, some participants may dominate. To avoid this problem, you can distribute cards to all individuals on which they brainstorm their thoughts or ask them to brainstorm in sub-groups.
  • To ensure that everyone gets involved, you can include some individual thinking time before the brainstorming session starts.
  • This method is commonly used in combination with other methods, for example, to start a focus group session.


2. Group analysis

Purpose: To collect general information about an issue from a small group of selected people through group discussion.

Description: A broad question, for example, ‘What impact do you think the land care group has had in achieving sustainable land use?’ is given to a group of about eight to discuss for one or two hours. There is minimal intervention by the group facilitator other than to make sure everybody has a say. The discussion is either recorded or detailed notes are taken and then later analysed. Groups should be conducted in pairs: one person to facilitate the discussion and the other for note-taking.

  • If facilitated well, this method can bring out detailed information. It generally stimulates rich responses and also provides a valuable opportunity to observe discussions and to gain insights into behaviours, attitudes, language and feelings.
  • However, facilitation of a focus group requires considerable skill – both in moderating the group and in adequately recording the responses. Group dynamics, due to individuals being too shy, dominating, disruptive, etc. can hamper the discussion.
  • This method can be used to obtain a consensus view. However, a small group of people cannot represent all views held by, for example, an organisation or community. On the other hand, if the group is not homogeneous enough, there can be great disagreement. So think carefully about the composition of the group.
  • This method can generate focused insights more quickly and generally more cheaply than through a series of key informants or formal social surveys.


3. Peer and self assessment

Student self-evaluation is a cognitive strategy that provides an avenue for the paradigmatic shift in assessment, where the focus is on learning rather than simply measurement of that learning. When students are engaged in evaluating their own work, they are thinking about what they have learnt and how they learn. They are consequently more aware of their thinking and learning processes which encourages a deep, as opposed to a surface, approach to learning (Entwistle, 1993). When you evaluate your own and peers’ work you are judging and interpreting. Reich (1991) advocates the development of these skills. He suggests that students need “to get behind the data – to ask why certain facts have been selected, why they are assumed to be important, how they were deduced, and how they might be contradicted” (p.230). Reich advocates an education for the symbolic analytic services which incorporate problem-solving, problem identifying and strategic brokering. What is important in this domain is system-thinking. That is, rather than teach students how to solve a problem that is presented to them, they are taught to examine why the problem arises and how it is connected to other problems.


“… in America’s best classrooms … Students learn to articulate, clarify, and then restate for one another how they identify and find answers. They learn how to seek and accept criticism from peers, solicit help and give credit to others. They also learn to negotiate – to explain their own needs, to discern what others need and view things from others’ perspectives, and to discover mutually beneficial resolutions



If these skills are valued and need to be developed for students to succeed then implications exist for current assessment systems. Skills, knowledge and attitudes that are valued need to be given the appropriate emphasis in the evaluation of student achievement. Stiggins (1992) indicates that sound assessments describe our understanding of the teaching and learning process and promote learning on the part of the student. The link between assessment and instruction becomes apparent, assessments that are an integral part of instruction require that the tasks are valued learning activities in their own right. Student self-evaluation is one such learning experience.

Student self-evaluation requires judgement of ‘the worth’ of one’s performance and the identification of one’s strengths and weaknesses with a view to improving one’s learning outcomes. The term student self-evaluation is used to emphasise that it is the students themselves who are conducting the evaluation.  Self-evaluation is integral to the learning process.

“Self-evaluation teaches you like your own self-worth, some people don’t have much confidence in themselves, but when they come to action planning they realise they have achieved something … It makes you feel … that you’ve done well … It’s teaching you self-worth I think” (Student Interview, 1994).

4. Mind maps

Mind Maps are very important techniques for improving the way you take notes. By using Mind Maps you show the structure of the subject and linkages between points, as well as the raw facts contained in normal notes. Mind Maps hold information in a format that your mind will find easy to remember and quick to review.

Mind Maps abandon the list format of conventional note taking. They do this in favour of a two-dimensional structure. A good Mind Map shows the ‘shape’ of the subject, the relative importance of individual points and the way in which one fact relates to other. Mind Maps are more compact than conventional notes, often taking up one side of paper. This helps you to make associations easily. If you find out more information after you have drawn the main Mind Map, then you can easily integrate it with little disruption.

Mind Maps are also useful for:

  • summarising information
  • consolidating information from different research sources
  • thinking through complex problems, and
  • presenting information that shows the overall structure of your subject

Mind Maps are also very quick to review, as it is easy to refresh information in your mind just by glancing at one. Mind Maps can also be effective mnemonics. Remembering the shape and structure of a Mind Map can provide the cues necessary to remember the information within it. They engage much more of the brain in the process of assimilating and connecting facts than conventional notes.

To make notes on a subject using a Mind Map, draw it in the following way:

  1. Write the title of the subject in the centre of the page, and draw a circle around it.
  2. For the major subject subheadings, draw lines out from this circle. Label these lines with the subheadings.
  3. If you have another level of information belonging to the subheadings above, draw these and link them to the subheading lines.

Finally, for individual facts or ideas, draw lines out from the appropriate heading line and label them.

As you come across new information, link it in to the Mind Map appropriately.

A complete Mind Map may have main topic lines radiating in all directions from the centre. Sub-topics and facts will branch off these, like branches and twigs from the trunk of a tree. You do not need to worry about the structure produced, as this will evolve of its own accord.

Improving your Mind Maps

Your Mind Maps are your own property: once you understand how to make notes in the Mind Map format, you can develop your own conventions to take them further. The following suggestions may help to increase the effectiveness of your Mind Maps:

  • Use single words or simple phrases for information:
  • Most words in normal writing are padding, as they ensure that facts are conveyed in the correct context, and in a format that is pleasant to read. In your own Mind Maps, single strong words and meaningful phrases can convey the same meaning more potently. Excess words just clutter the Mind Map.
  • Print words:
    Joined up or indistinct writing can be more difficult to read.
  • Use colour to separate different ideas:
    This will help you to separate ideas where necessary. It also helps you to visualize the Mind Map for recall. Colour also helps to show the organisation of the subject.
  • Use symbols and images:
    Where a symbol or picture means something to you, use it. Pictures can help you to remember information more effectively than words.
  • Using cross-linkages:
    Information in one part of the Mind Map may relate to another part. Here you can draw in lines to show the cross-linkages. This helps you to see how one part of the subject affects another.

Mind Maps provide an extremely effective method of taking notes. They show not only facts, but also the overall structure of a subject and the relative importance of individual parts of it. Mind Maps help you to associate ideas and make connections that you might not otherwise make. If you do any form of research or note taking, try experimenting with Mind Maps. You will find them surprisingly effective.

5. Note taking

The Purpose of Notes

Writing down the main idea, important points, outline, or summary of information presented orally or in writing.

Notes capture the ideas of your instructors’ lectures, allowing you to study them after class. They do more: they help you to learn the material as you transcribe it. Although lectures may seem archaic, they remain in use because they have three powerful characteristics. First, lectures transmit information more expediently than any other form of information exchange, including the Internet. Secondly, lectures are performances; unlike televised or taped presentations, they are urgent and immediate, demanding attention and concentration. Finally, lectures require mental and physical participation. Your notes are not simply records of a lecturer’s words; they are part of a process of active listening, mental processing, and manual recording all of which stimulate the mind and reinforce memory.

Note-taking is an excellent general skill and good technique is not acquired automatically. Admittedly, a single technique will not work ideally for all students, but there are several general rules worth knowing.

  •  Filter the information.

Do not copy every word; filter the lecture, noting only the expressions you will need to prompt your memory. Do not try to preserve whole sentences; concentrate on key ideas. You may go so far as to use a personal shorthand or learn a formal system. Whatever you do, be sure your system can record the essentials of a lecture–and be sure you can understand it later.

  •  Classify the information.

You will probably be working with at least three types of information: substantive content, references, and illustrations. The substantive content of the lecture consists of concepts and factual material; this may be accompanied by references to various works which the student should consult. Usually, the concepts are illustrated with anecdotes and examples. You will record each differently: the key to grasping the main ideas of a lecture lies in listening, while references must be recorded briefly but precisely, and illustrations may be quickly sketched in.

  • Organise the information.

Finally, you should consider adopting a formal plan for your notes. Even if your own note-taking system is adequate, you may be able to improve the clarity or consistency of your notes or you may be able to save some time.

6. Memorising

Every subject area requires students to memorise information. However, since it is usually the meaning of the information that is important and not the particular way that it is expressed, most information does not have to be remembered verbatim. Learning and remembering the meaning of information is best done by focusing on understanding, and by engaging in activities that increase understanding, such as writing summaries in your own words, linking new ideas to established ideas, and trying to see the bigger picture.

However, most subject areas contain some information that has to be memorised in the exact way that it is presented: For example, formulae in mathematics, chords in music, or vocabulary in a foreign language. A number of different memorisation strategies can be used to help students remember this type of information.

7. Key words

 Key words are the most important words in a particular context. They carry the main ideas. As we saw in the previous activity, identifying key words in a passage is an important step towards summarising the passage, and in the process helps us to understand the meaning of the passage.

8. Underlining

 Another tool you can use is text underlining.  Underlining can help you deepen your engagement as you read, and many students who are strongly visual say they can recall –mentally “see and read”—underlined information when they need it for a test.  The trick here is to select only the most important material.  Over-underlining is not helpful.  The rule of thumb is to shoot for about 10%; if you have underlined 1/10th of the text and can reread/review/take notes on just that, you have provided yourself with a real time-saving tool.

9. Skimming

Skimming is the technique of running our eyes over a text very quickly in order to get the general idea of the content. In doing so, our eyes pick up occasional words, so that we get some idea of what the text is about. Skimming gives us an idea of the scope of the content but not much idea of the detail. It is more useful for selecting a text than as a learning strategy, because it is a quick way of checking to see if the text is going to be useful to our needs.

10. Scanning

Scanning is another reading technique, also reading very quickly but this time looking for something specific, and so allowing the eye to pass quickly over the page, looking for a particular item. For example, when we look up a name in a telephone directory, we ‘tell’ our eyes to look for a particular name and we automatically ignore all the other names. For example, try looking at this page but look only for the bold print. Do you notice how your eyes take no notice of the other print? Now try taking the first letter of your name, and scan a few pages to spot that letter (as a capital letter). Are you able to spot that letter among all the others?

Activity 4Selecting an appropriate learning technique (Pairs)

Match the task in Column A with the most suitable technique in Column B

Column A Column B
1.    You are about to hand in an assignment for which you have the criteria. You want to know if it is ready to hand in.

2.    You and a classmate check each others’ assignments before handing in.

3.    You and a group of classmates start work on a group assignment by contributing a wide range of ideas

4.    You have a list of websites and you want to find one that deals with wheat-growing

5.    You want to get an overview of the scope of an article

6.    After a brainstorm, your group critically reviews the ideas that the brainstorm has provided

7.    During a visit to a site, you want to record key ideas

8.    You have to learn something off by heart so you use a mnemonic

Brain storming

Group analysis


Note taking Memorising

Key words Underlining Skimming


Peer assessment

Self assessment


2.2 Information Is Summarized & Used In The Learning Process.

 What is summarisation?

Summarising is one of the most important skills that we can use for learning. It makes us read the text with understanding, and therefore helps us to learn what we are reading.

A summary is based on the main ideas in a passage. Remember for a summary you need to:

  • look for main ideas
  • identify the key sentence in each paragraph — this should ‘cover’ or include all other points not confuse main ideas with examples
  • cut out detailed descriptions or extensions

Types of summaries:

  • EXTRACTS – are summaries consisting entirely of material copied from the input document (e.g. extract 25% of the original document).
  • ABSTRACTS – are summaries of material that are not present in the input document.
  • INDICATIVE – summaries help us decide whether to read the document or not.
  • INFORMATIVE – summaries cover all the salient information in the source (replace the full document).

2.3 Answers Pertaining To Relevant Questions Are Synthesised & Contextualised.

 Questioning is an important learning strategy. By asking relevant questions we can:

  • check that we understand something
  • clear up anything we do not understand
  • get more information
  • make sure that we have accurate information

Sometimes we are not willing to ask questions because we do not want to look ignorant or foolish. But we need to ask ourselves which is more foolish: to stay in ignorance or to show our willingness to learn?

a) Checking understanding

  1. How we monitor whether we are understanding and learning in a given situation or task. As we apply learning strategies to tasks, we should continuously check the effectiveness of the process by evaluating our progress in completing the task; and the outcome or understanding by asking ourselves the following questions:
    • What is this about? (Can I put this information in my own words? Explain it to someone else?)
    • Does the answer (or outcome) make sense?
    • How am I doing?

When I am unable to answer the questions above, I might ask:

  • What could I do to make this process more effective?
  • What other strategies might work more effectively?
  1. When we know that we do not understand, recognising the problem and identifying a different strategy that will be more appropriate to the learning situation. If we are unable to explain our new learning, or complete a practice problem applying this learning, we may need to find another strategy that will work more effectively.

b) Clarifying meaning

Clarification of unfamiliar words should therefore happen after reading the text as a whole. Particularly difficult concepts that assume prior knowledge can be introduced as part of the pre-reading activities.

Words are the building blocks of language and extending your vocabulary aids your ability to comprehend a variety of topics. There are a number of strategies for dealing with unfamiliar words and the two most obvious ones are:

  • Using the dictionary
  • Asking someone else

Yet when using the dictionary, you have to learn to consider the context of the word as the explanations in dictionaries can be confusing, you should therefore learn strategies to guess the meaning of a word before referring to the dictionary. This will also encourage you to use their thinking and linking skills and making a good guess builds up their confidence.

The following steps can be used to work out the meaning of a word.


  • What does what in a sentence? (Subject/Verb/Object)
  • Look for any context clues.
  • Consider what the word sounds like.
  • Use your knowledge of word parts.
  • Look for punctuation clues.


•    Check your guess in the dictionary

  1. The place of the word in a sentence helps you to work out if it is
    • a noun or naming word;
    • an adjective or describing word;
    • a verb or action word.
  2. Context refers to the sentence, paragraph and the wider passage in which the word occurs. In deciding the meaning of a word you look for clues, before and after the sentence in which it is used, to give you an idea of the possible meaning.
  3. Compare the sound of the word to words you know. If you see a word like “pretentious”, saying it out loud may help you link it to the word “pretend”. Using this, together with any useful context clues, you might guess what it means.

I thought that girl was rather pretentious. She seemed to think she knew it all.

     4.Using your knowledge of how a word is built up.

    5. Punctuation can indicate that a word is explained within the sentence itself.

For example, in an article on safety in the city:

WELLINGTON: The most vulnerable people in the community – the very young – are not receiving the protection they deserve.

The dashes indicate that the young and the vulnerable are one and the same and that they do not get protection.

c) Getting information

 Do a search

While you will often be told what books, articles and reports you should read for assignments, you will also often be expected to find at least some of the relevant resources yourself. To be able to find them successfully and quickly, you need to know where and how to search for them. This involves learning about types of publications (e.g. journals, conference proceedings, reviews, annual reports), forms of publication (e.g. hard-copy, electronic, on-line), and systems and tools that can help you search efficiently (e.g. catalogues, indexes, databases and search engines).

d) Confirm accuracy of information

Information quality is a slippery subject. Although many might disagree, there is rarely a single absolute truth. In many cases, what is truth to me, may be nonsense to you. The best resources for a medical researcher are useless to the elementary school student and vice versa. However, there are hallmarks of what is consistently “good” information. The most basic requirements of good information are:

  • Objectivity: That the information is presented in a manner free from propaganda or disinformation.
  • Completeness: That the information is a complete, not a partial picture of the subject
  • Pluralism: That all aspects of the information are given and are not restricted to present a particular viewpoint, as in the case of censorship.
Activity 5: Learning through asking questions (Individual)

Read the following passage then complete questions 1 — 3 below.

Good food hygiene can contribute towards preventing the transmission of pathogens responsible for many foodborne diseases. Governments, industry and consumers have shared responsibility in ensuring the safety of food. WHO has long been aware of the need to educate all food handlers, including professionals and ordinary consumers, about their responsibility for food safety. After nearly a year of consultations with food safety experts and risk communicators, WHO introduced the Five Keys to Safer Food poster in 2001. Already translated into 25 languages, the WHO Five Keys to Safer Food are simple rules elaborated to promote safer food handling and preparation practices: keep clean, separate raw and cooked, cook thoroughly, keep food at safe temperatures, use safe water and raw materials. www.fao.org

  1. Working individually and using the categories below, prepare three questions based on this passage. These should be real questions, i.e. you should not know the answers.

Category 1: one word of which you do not know the meaning. Category 2: one sentence that you do not understand Category 3: one question that you have about the context.

  1. Now work with a partner. Take turns to ask your questions, and help each other to answer them as best you can. If you cannot answer any questions, keep these aside and carry on with the next category. If you answer the questions of both partners, go further through the paragraph until you find a question for each category that neither of you can answer. You should end up with at least 3 questions.
  1. Now combine with another pair so that you are working in a team of four. Share the questions from each pair, and try to answer them. Again, if your group cannot answer a question, keep it aside. If you can, move on until you have at least one question per category.

Your facilitator will now take questions from each group. The class can try to answer the questions; otherwise your facilitator can help the class reach an understanding.

Self assessment checklist

In order to establish whether you completed the Activity successfully, ask yourself these questions

  1. Did I prepare 3 questions (1 word that I did not know, 1 sentence that I did not understand, 1 question about the context) based on things I did not understand about the passage?
  2. Did I work with my partner to find 3 questions like these that neither of us could answer?
  3. Did I work with my group to find 3 questions that none of us knew?
  4. Did I feel comfortable saying I did not know the answers to my questions?

2.4 Texts Are Read / View For Detail, Interpreted, Analysed & Synthesised For A Given Context.

 As a learner much of your work involves reading.

Reading is something we do in many different contexts, and for different purposes. We can sit down with a book or magazine and read for pleasure or relaxation. We may read for simple information such as when we read a bus timetable or a telephone directory.

Sometimes we read involuntarily, for instance when we see an advertisement on a billboard using a single word in huge writing. When we read a sms from a friend we may be reading for fun.

Reading for learning, however, is different from all of these because we are then reading in a very directed, goal-oriented way. Success in reading to learn depends on using certain ‘attack’ skills when we approach the text. It is useful to be aware of the strategies we can use to get information out of the text.

It is a good idea to first look at the format of a passage i.e. the way it is set out on the page (or screen). This will help you to navigate the text. Is there a title? Is it written in paragraphs? Is it a table? Are there sub-headings? All of these factors will allow you to approach the text in a more organised way, and therefore increase your ability to learn from it.

When we read the text for the purpose of learning, we should read for:

  • detail i.e. extract information that is stated directly in the text
  • interpretation i.e. extract the meaning where the idea is there but not stated directly
  • analysis i.e. use the content to draw a conclusion or add your own idea: you have to sort out some information in the text to get an answer, or assess something in order to give an opinion
Activity 6: Read the following passage and consider the questions that follow:

The Food Safety Department (FOS) of the World Health Organisation works hard all around the world to reduce the effects of diseases carried by food. Diseases carried by food and water are leading causes of illness and death in less developed countries, killing approximately 1.8 million people every year, most of whom are children.

  1. Where does the FOS do its work?
  2. How many people die each year from diseases carried by food and water?
  3. Who is more at risk from these diseases: children or adults?
  4. Why do you think that these diseases are so dangerous in less developed countries?

You need to do 2 things: answer the questions, and then decide what kind of question each one is. Take the following steps:

  •  Write down your answers to these questions.
  •  Find a partner and check your answers.
  •  With your partner, go back to the questions and discuss the kind of question each one is. Is it asking for a detail, an   interpretation or an analysis? (Clue: Of these 4 questions, 2 are detail, 1 is an interpretation, 1 is an analysis)


Type of question:





2.5 Verbal Interaction Is Interpreted, Analysed & Synthesised For A Given Context.

We are not always aware of how much information comes to us through hearing it, but to make the most of this, we need to actively listen rather than just hear sound. Listening well means staying focussed on what is being said.

In the following Activity, you will be asked to listen for:

  • Detail: where the information is stated directly in the text
  • Interpretation: where the idea is there but not stated directly
  • Analysis: where you add your own idea: you have to sort out some information in the text to get an answer, or assess something in order to give an opinion.

2.6 Learning Takes Place Through Communicating With Others In Groups Or As Individuals.

 A Communication Model

There is always a sender and a receiver in communication. At least there is an intended receiver. In the diagram above A is the sender, B is the receiver.

A and B have different personal realities. They each have their own world formed by their experiences, their perceptions, their ideas, etc. They will perceive, experience, and interpret things differently. The same event will always be perceived a little different by each of two people.

For the consideration to communicate to appear at all there must be some kind of shared space. The participants must have some kind of concept of each other’s location and of a possible channel of communication existing between them. They must agree sufficiently on these to agree that communication is taking place.

The sender will have some kind of meaning she wishes to convey to the receiver. It might not be conscious knowledge, it might be a sub-conscious wish for communication. What is desired to be communicated would be some kind of idea, perception, feeling, or datum. It will be a part of her reality that she wishes to send to somebody else.

Something will be transmitted across a distance in the shared space. We can regard it as an object, a particle, or as a wave, or flow. It might be sound vibrations, rays of light, words, pieces of paper, cannon balls, body language, telepathy, or whatever.

Between humans there will be several layers of the message being sent. There will often be a verbal portion, something that is being expressed in language, spoken or written. And there is also a non-verbal portion, covering everything else, most notably body language. Sometimes the verbal and non-verbal messages don’t agree with each other, they are incongruent. If they do agree we say that they are congruent.

Based on what the receiver perceives, and based on her interpretation of the verbal and non-verbal input, she will form a concept in her reality of what the meaning of the message is. It will mean something to her. It might or might not be what was intended by the sender. In successful communication the perceived message will approximate the intended message to the sender’s satisfaction. However, the sender will only know that if she receives a message back that is congruent with what she had in mind.

One can never take for granted that the receiver has the same reality as the sender. One can never take for granted that the receiver will interpret the message the same way as the sender intended it. Communication is not an absolute finite thing. Particularly, communication with language is always vague and misleading to some extent.

If A says a word, like for example “trust”, she has a certain meaning attached to it in her reality. She has had certain experiences with the subject matter, she has made certain conclusions about it, and she has certain perceptual filters concerning it. The meaning of the word is all the stuff it is associated with in her reality. However, because words also have nice, finite dictionary definitions it might appear as if the word is something very precise.

What travels across the communication channel is NOT all the associations that A made about the word, and NOT the intentions she had with using it. What crosses the distance is symbols. When B hears the word or sentence she will interpret it based on her experiences, perceptions, and opinions. She might supplement the verbal information with non-verbal information such as body language. She might also hallucinate what it is supposed to mean. In one way or another she arrives at the meaning she assigns to it.

There is wide agreement, at least within a particular culture, on what common physical objects are. When you say “car” or “refrigerator” most people will have an understanding very close to yours. But if you say words for abstract qualities, like “trust”, “love”, “right”, “wrong”, and so forth, then there is wide variance on what people mean.

To have effective communication one needs to take all the factors into consideration. The different realities, the space the communication takes place in, verbal as well as non-verbal messages, the intended meaning versus the perceived meaning.

3 Manage Occupational Learning Materials

3.1 Occupational Learning Materials Are Organized & Used For Optimum Learning.

 Videos, internet, texts, handouts, text books, charts, maps, plans and diagrams.

Visual learners make up about 65 percent of the population. All above mentioned learning materials can be used through “seeing” .

These learning materials can be used if you encounter the following:

  • believes the best way to remember something is to put a picture in you head.
  • Need for verbal instructions to be repeated, gets lost with verbal instructions.
  • Watches speaker’s facial expressions and body language.
  • Likes to take notes and review them later, remembers best by writing down several times or drawing pictures and diagrams.
  • Prefers information to be presented visually.
  • Follows written instructions better than verbal ones.

Occupational learning materials should be well organised to design effective instruction. This can be done by:

  • The use of visual materials such as maps, graphs etc.
  • Use colour to highlight important points in text.
  • Encourage note taking.
  • Provide handouts to illustrate ideas.
  • Provide a quiet place to study away from verbal disturbances.
  • Provide illustrated books.
  • Visualise information as a picture to aid memorisation.

3.2  Layout, Presentation & Organisational Features Of Learning Materials Are Understood & Used Effectively.

 To make effective use of any resource, we need to know the elements of how it is set out, and therefore how we can locate the material most useful to our research.

Books that are designed as learning resources are organised to assist learning. They have standard features to help us find the information we need. We will look at the most important of these features.

 a) Index

The index is at the back of the book. It is a detailed listing of all the items dealt with in the book.  It is an alphabetical list, showing what page a subject, name etc. is found on.

 b) Contents page

The contents page is found near the front of the book, just after the title page

This can also be the subject page. On this page you will find the ideas that are contained in a piece of writing – everything that is contained within something.

c) Glossaries

This is an alphabetical list, with meanings of the words or phrases in a text that is difficult to understand.

d) Electronic texts

This is text that you obtain by using equipment. Based on or used in a system of operation that involves the control of electric current by various devices.

 3.3 Technical Language / Terminology Is Engaged With & Clarification Sought If Needed.

 In any field of study, there is a vocabulary of terminology that is specific to that field. (Remember the section on Jargon?) Part of learning about the subject is learning this new language. It is important to understand the meaning of these new words because you are then learning the concepts or ideas that they are referring to. This understanding develops as we 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 our studies we will therefore come across many new words. How do we help ourselves to make the best use of this?

Firstly, we need to recognise that it is a new word, so if we hear a term being used, or if we have read a word we do not understand, we need to make a note of that word. It is likely that we will have an idea of its meaning from the context, but how do we make sure that we have the right idea? If possible, we can ask on the spot. Otherwise we 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, we should keep our own glossary of terms, and add to it as we acquire new terms. This is especially helpful if we are learning in a language that is not our mother tongue

Activity 7Creating a glossary of terms for your course (Individual & small group)

This activity will be in 2 stages: First we will make a suitably formatted book and then we will start to fill it in.

A: Making the book

This should be done at home and brought to class ready to use.

  1. You may buy a book (soft-cover or preferably hard-cover) or use an old one that still has most of its pages.
  2. Cover the book with paper or plastic, write the word ‘Glossary’ on the cover and make sure that your name is inside as well as outside the book.
  3. Count the number of pages in the book and divide this number by 24. This will give the number of pages you can use per letter of the alphabet. There are 26 letters in the alphabet but some letters are not very common. Q is one of these so it can be combined with P. X Y and Z can take a single page.
  1. First plan your book in pencil. On the first page, write an A. Turn over the number of pages you have calculated for each letter, and on the page following that number write B. e.g. if you have calculated 2 pages per letter, write your B on page 3. Continue through the book, writing each letter on its page. Remember to write P and Q on the same page, and the same for XYZ.
  1. Once you are sure you have distributed the letters correctly through the book, go back to page 1 and, in the upper right hand corner of the first page, write the capital letter A in large print, this time with a pen. Then do the same on the pages for B, C etc, right through the alphabet. Once you have written the large letter in, you can erase the pencil letter.

B: Starting the glossary

You need to bring your prepared book to class, where you will work in groups of four, going through the following steps:-

  1. First working individually, each person must think of five specialised new words that you have heard or read in your course. These should be words that you did not understand when you first came across them.
  2. Each person writes their five words down, then notes where this word first came up (if you remember the context), then what you think the meaning is.
  1. When everyone has completed this task individually, each person shares their words with the group. [Some of you are likely to have the same words.]
  2. For each word, discuss it until you have reached consensus on its meaning. Write this meaning down.
  3. You now have a list of new words with their meanings. Divide this list up among the group, and each will then research the meaning to make sure it is correct. Remember, we discussed three categories of learning resource: print, electronic, other people. You may therefore choose to use a dictionary (if you can locate a specialised one), any electronic resource that is available or an appropriate facilitator from your course.
  1. When the meaning of each word has been verified (checked), you, as well as the people in your group may use those as the first entries in your glossaries. You may want to write the word in one colour and its meaning in another.

4 Conduct Research & Analyse & Present Findings

A research paper presents the results of your investigations on a selected topic. Based on your own thoughts and the facts and ideas you have gathered from a variety of sources, a research paper is a creation that is uniquely yours. The experience of gathering, interpreting, and documenting information, developing and organising ideas and conclusions, and communicating them clearly will prove to be an important and satisfying part of your education.


There are many approaches to research — an essential part of every business and profession — and many ways to document findings. The library has books which will help you, and most English composition textbooks contain chapters on research techniques and style. It is important to follow consistently and accurately a recommended format that is clear and concise.

 4.1 Appropriate Or Relevant Topic & Scope Is Identified & Defined.

You should select a topic that you care about enough to invest the necessary time and energy for thought, research and development of ideas.

Sometimes deciding exactly what you want to research can be the most difficult part of the whole research process. Most good research starts with a question or two. There are many places you can go and find ideas and questions to turn into interesting research topics. e.g.

  • Do you have a personal interest?
  • State your topic in a question. This will help you clarify your thoughts.
  • Look through some reference sources for background information.
  • Browse the shelves of the library or bookstore – Look at current magazines, newspapers, television, and other forms of media.
  • Talk to friends, classmates, facilitators and librarians.

4.2 Research Steps Are Planned & Sequenced Appropriately.

Activity 8
  1. Select a general topic that interests you in some way.
  2. List key words to help you look up information about the topic.
  3. Go to an encyclopaedia, or other reference source, to get an overview of the topic.
  4. Make source cards for whatever sources you will use for information.
  5. Using the general overview, begin to focus the topic into something you can cover well.
  6. Write a statement of purpose about the focused topic.
  7. Brainstorm questions about the focused topic.
  8. Group questions under similar headings.
  9. Add any new questions you can think of under those headings.
  10. Repeat step 2, listing more key words from your newly focused topic and questions.
  11. Make a list of possible sources that can answer your questions. Identify the best sources to use.
  12. Find the sources in the library, on the computer, etc. Make a source card for each one you use.
  13. Begin making note cards. Use your brain stormed questions to guide your note taking.
  14. Change your statement of purpose into a draft thesis statement.
  15. Make an outline of your headings.
  16. Refocus your thesis statement if necessary.
  17. Write the body of your paper from your notes.
  18. Cite any necessary information with parenthetical citations.
  19. Write your introduction and conclusion.
  20. Write your Works Cited (it is similar to a bibliography).
  21. Create a title page.
  22. Evaluate your work.
  23. Turn in your paper on time.

When you’ve finished, celebrate!

4.3 Research Techniques Are Applied.

Gathering information gives the basis for providing an informed, reliable and valid answer to a given question. This information should:

  • be from a range of sources
  • be relevant to the research issue
  • come from reliable sources

When using print resources we should make use of the contents page and index to locate relevant information, and when using electronic resources we can make use of the efficient mechanisms for linkages between sites.

Note-taking will be used when interviewing people, using reference books etc.

Activity 9After identifying your own research topic, complete the column in your workbooks to indicate the research techniques that you will use for your research project. Look at the following example before completing the table.
Gathering information Reading Interviewing Electronic resources
Books Article written by Ms.L Roux – How to write a unit standard. Interview Mr Kagiso on Basic economic principals  







4.4 Information Is Sifted For Relevance.

The first stage of evaluating your sources takes place before you do any searching. Take a minute to ask yourself what exactly you are looking for. Do you want facts, opinions (authoritative or just anyone’s), reasoned arguments, statistics, narratives, eyewitness reports, descriptions? Is the purpose of your research to get new ideas, to find either factual or reasoned support for a position, to survey opinion, or something else? Once you decide on this, you will be able to screen sources much more quickly by testing them against your research goal. If, for example, you are writing a research paper, and if you are looking for both facts and well-argued opinions to support or challenge a position, you will know which sources can be quickly passed by and which deserve a second look, simply by asking whether each source appears to offer facts and well-argued opinions, or just unsupported claims.

Select Sources Likely to be Reliable

 Becoming proficient at this will require experience, of course, but even a beginning researcher can take a few minutes to ask, “What source or what kind of source would be the most credible for providing information in this particular case?” Which sources are likely to be fair, objective, lacking hidden motives, showing quality control? It is important to keep these considerations in mind, so that you will not simply take the opinion of the first source or two you can locate. By thinking about these issues while searching, you will be able to identify suspicious or questionable sources more readily. With so many sources to choose from in a typical search, there is no reason to settle for unreliable material.

Evaluating Information: The Tests of Information Quality

Reliable Information is Power

You may have heard that “knowledge is power,” or that information, the raw material of knowledge, is power. But the truth is that only some information is power, reliable information. Information serves as the basis for beliefs, decisions, choices, and understanding our world. If we make a decision based on wrong or unreliable information, we do not have power, we have defeat. If we eat something harmful that we believe to be safe, we can become ill; if we avoid something good that we believe to be harmful, we have needlessly restricted the enjoyment of our lives. The same thing applies to every decision to travel, purchase, or act, and every attempt to understand

Source Evaluation is an Art

Source evaluation, the determination of information quality is something of an art. That is, there is no single perfect indicator of reliability, truthfulness, or value. Instead, you must make an inference from a collection of clues or indicators, based on the use you plan to make of your source. If, for example, what you need is a reasoned argument, then a source with a clear, well-argued position can stand on its own, without the need for a prestigious author to support it. On the other hand, if you need a judgment to support (or rebut) some position, then that judgment will be strengthened if it comes from a respected source. If you want reliable facts, then using facts from a source that meets certain criteria of quality will help assure the probability that those facts are indeed reliable.

The CARS Checklist

 The CARS Checklist (Credibility, Accuracy, Reasonableness, Support) is designed for ease of learning and use. Few sources will meet every criterion in the list, and even those that do may not possess the highest level of quality possible. But if you learn to use the criteria in this list, you will be much more likely to separate the high quality information from the poor quality information.


There are several tests you can apply to a source to help you judge how credible and useful it will be

Author’s Credentials

The author or source of the information should show some evidence of being knowledgeable, reliable, and truthful. Here are some clues:

  • Author’s education, training, and/or experience in a field relevant to the information. Look for biographical information, the author’s title or position of employment
  • Author provides contact information (email or snail mail address, phone number)
  • Organisational authorship from a known and respected organisation (corporate, governmental, or non-profit)
  • Author’s reputation or standing among peers.
  • Author’s position (job function, title)

Indicators of Lack of Credibility

You can sometimes tell by the tone, style, or competence of the writing whether or not the information is suspect. Here are a few clues:

  • Anonymity
  • Lack of Quality Control
  • Bad grammar or misspelled words. Most educated people use grammar fairly well and check their work for spelling errors. An occasional split infinitive or comma in the wrong place is not unusual, but more than two or three spelling or grammar errors is cause for caution, at least. Whether the errors come from carelessness or ignorance, neither puts the information or the writer in a favourable light.


 The goal of the accuracy test is to assure that the information is actually correct, up to date, factual, detailed, exact, and comprehensive. For example, even though a very credible writer said something that was correct twenty years ago, it may not be correct today. Similarly, a reputable source might be giving up-to-date information, but the information may be only partial, and not give the full story. Here are some concepts related to accuracy.


 Some work is timeless, like the classic novels and stories, or like the thought provoking philosophical work of Aristotle and Plato. Other work has a limited useful life because of advances in the discipline (psychological theory, for example), and some work is outdated very quickly (like technology news). You must therefore be careful to note when the information you find was created, and then decide whether it is still of value (and how much value). You may need information within the past ten years, five years, or even two weeks. But old is not necessarily bad. An important idea connected with timeliness is the dynamic, fluid nature of information and the fact that constant change means constant changes in timeliness. The facts we learn today may be timely now, but tomorrow will not be


 Any source that presents conclusions or that claims (explicitly or implicitly) to give a full and rounded story, should reflect the intentions of completeness and accuracy. In other words, the information should be comprehensive. Some writers argue that researchers should be sure that they have “complete” information before making a decision or that information must be complete. But with the advent of the information age, such a goal is impossible, if by “complete” we mean all possible information. No one can read 20,000 articles on the same subject before coming to a conclusion or making a decision. And no single piece of information will offer the truly complete story, that’s why we rely on more than one source.

Indicators of a Lack of Accuracy

 In addition to an obvious tone or style that reveals a carelessness with detail or accuracy, there are several indicators that may mean the source is inaccurate, either in whole or in part:

  • No date on the document
  • Vague or sweeping generalisations
  • Old date on information known to change rapidly
  • Very one sided view that does not acknowledge opposing views or respond to them


The test of reasonableness involves examining the information for fairness, objectivity, moderateness, and consistency.


 There is no such thing as pure objectivity, but a good writer should be able to control his or her biases. One of the biggest hindrances to objectivity is conflict of interest.


 The consistency test simply requires that the argument or information does not contradict itself. Sometimes when people spin falsehoods or distort the truth, inconsistencies or even contradictions show up. These are evidence of unreasonableness.

Indicators of a Lack of Reasonableness

 Writers who put themselves in the way of the argument, either emotionally or because of self interest, often reveal their lack of reasonableness. If, for example, you find a writer reviewing a book he opposes by asserting that “the entire book is completely worthless claptrap,” you might suspect there is more than a reasoned disagreement at work. Here are some clues to a lack of reasonableness:

  • Intemperate tone or language (“stupid jerks,” “shrill cries of my extremist opponents”)
  • Overclaims (“Thousands of children are murdered every day in South Africa.”)
  • Sweeping statements of excessive significance (“This is the most important idea ever conceived!”)
  • Conflict of Interest.

Source Documentation or Bibliography

Where did this information come from? What sources did the information creator use? Are the sources listed? Is there a bibliography or other documentation? Does the author provide contact information in case you wish to discuss an issue or request further clarification? What kind of support for the information is given? How does the writer know this? It is especially important for statistics to be documented.

Summary of The CARS Checklist for Research Source Evaluation Credibility

 Trustworthy source, author’s credentials, evidence of quality control, known or respected authority, organisational support. Goal: an authoritative source, a source that supplies some good evidence that allows you to trust it.


 Up to date, factual, detailed, exact, comprehensive, audience and purpose reflect intentions of completeness and accuracy. Goal: a source that is correct today (not yesterday), a source that gives the whole truth.


 Fair, balanced, objective, reasoned, no conflict of interest, absence of fallacies or slanted tone. Goal: a source that engages the subject thoughtfully and reasonably, concerned with the truth.


Listed sources, contact information, available corroboration, claims supported, documentation supplied. Goal: a source that provides convincing evidence for the claims made, a source you can triangulate (find at least two other sources that support it).


Evaluate and re-evaluate regularly. New information or changing circumstances will affect the accuracy and hence your evaluation of previous information. Recognise the dynamic, fluid nature of information. The saying, “Change is the only constant,” applies to much information, especially in technology, science, medicine, and business.


4.5 Information Is Classified, Categorised & Sorted.

Processing the information relies on the techniques we have developed in SO 2. In particular, the following skills will be useful:

key-words are used when classifying material, doing summaries, and in making presentations (SO 2.3)

underlining can be used when using internet printouts (SO 2.3)


4.6 Research Findings Are Analysed & Presented In the appropriate format.

Activity 10You will work in teams of four for this project. The first step in the project, therefore, is to form a team of four. Each person in the team has a role to perform. The roles are:
  • Conductor: keeps things running smoothly e.g. materials, participation
  • Chair: co-ordinates the activity
  • Scribe: keeps written records
  • Reporter: gives feedback when required

Each person should support the others in their roles e.g. all assist the recorder to capture the group’s ideas.

The next step is to decide what the topic for your research project is, and what the scope of the research is.  Once you have agreed on a topic, you will need to define the scope of your research. It is important to all have a similar idea of what you are going to do with the topic. One way of doing this is to have a research question. This will focus everyone in the group on a common approach.

The information gathered and processed by individual members is now put together and discussed in relation to the research question. Information should be arranged in groups, e.g. statistics, diagrams, evidence for one point of view, evidence against that point of view, unexpected information that was found.

The group returns to the research question and, based on the information that has been gathered, processed and sorted, now makes a decision as to the answer to the question.

In consultation with your facilitator, the group must decide on the format for presentation of this finding. This may be, for example, a poster, a written presentation or an oral presentation.

Different skills will be used for this presentation, depending on the format. For example, if a written or oral presentation is submitted, summarising the information and findings will be a key skill (SO2.2). If the research is presented as a poster, selection of key words will be most important.

Conclusions and recommendations are made in the appropriate format. 

Although you may have learned in other writing classes that summaries are appropriate conclusions for papers, summaries are typically offered as front matter (prefatory material) in research documents. Therefore, a summary is a weak, redundant ending for a research document. You may, of course, offer a few summary statements to orientate your reader, but effective conclusions do far more than recap information you have already offered in the prefatory material, the introduction, and the discussion of your document.

These endings are all based on the idea that you should draw conclusions, not just conclude. In short, they depend on your explaining “What does this mean for us?”

One of the most useful conclusions for many workplace documents is a section offering recommendations or solutions. Such a conclusion is most typically used for problem/solution reports, but it can also be used for cause/effect, comparison/ contrast, and other organizational schemes. In this section, you may recommend which of several solutions is most likely to solve the problem, is most feasible, or is least disruptive.

Although instincts are important in the workplace, a reader will rarely be satisfied that they are the best grounds on which to base important decisions. Thus, you must explain the criteria on which your recommendations are based. Furthermore, your criteria must match the reader’s expectations and needs.

Imagine how embarrassing it would be to offer recommendations based on a sense of urgency and moving from immediate-to-remote implementation stages when your readers think your recommendations are based on costs. In other words, you might lose all your credibility if you have proposed an expensive plan because it offers the most immediate relief for the problem, but your readers expect you to offer the most cost-efficient plan.

Your recommendations may correspond to the following criteria:

  • Costs or other budget matters
  • The mission of the organization
  • Space
  • Human Resources needs
  • Deadlines (legal, business, environmental, or other forms of deadlines)
  • Tax structures
  • Immediate-to-remote implementation schedules
  • Equipment or technological needs
  • Materials availability
  • Locations

5 Lead & Function In A Team

 “There is no such thing as a self-made person. You will reach your goals only with the help of others.”

– George Shinn


5.1 Active Leading & Participation Takes Place In Group Learning Situations.

 We have worked in pairs and groups throughout this unit and in unit 8968. As pointed out in Section 2.7, this encourages our creative thinking and our ability to learn, and that sometimes participating in a group means active listening


Group Meetings – Making them Work!

Cottrell (1999) identifies the creation of a supportive group atmosphere and environment in order to make group meetings more effective. A supportive group atmosphere takes account of people’s feelings, particularly those who are anxious within group settings.

Get to know the people in your group, perhaps combine your first meeting with a social event or participate in some team building or ice-breaking games. Once the ice has been well and truly broken, the group can begin talking about their expectations as individual group members. Some discussion around ground rules and what is acceptable and unacceptable behaviour within the group should then follow. (See section on Ground Rules).

Find out the group’s strengths – which members are good at running meetings, artwork, giving presentations. However, a word of caution, just because you are good at a particular skill, you don’t have to always do it. Group work is about participation, so be willing to share and learn.

An effective group environment is one where clear agendas and boundaries are set. Cottrell (1999) suggests the following:

Set an agenda for group meetings and decide how long to spend on each of them. Be clear which meetings are for work and which meetings are for socialising. Arrange meetings well in advance, so that everyone knows when to attend.

Space must be made within group meetings to check progress. If the group is not completing tasks on time, then some open and honest discussion should take place. This is not an opportunity to be openly critical, instead make suggestions on how to improve the situation and be supportive. This may be the time to re-evaluate the task allocations to ensure fair and equitable distribution.

Being an Effective Group Member

The responsibility for the group lies with each member. If a problem arises, every member shares the responsibility for sorting out the problem so that the group can work effectively.

To help your group succeed:

  • Be encouraging
  • Be a good listener
  • Be able to build on other people’s ideas
  • Be inclusive – don’t exclude people
  • Offer constructive criticism
  • Share your information
  • Complete your task on time

5.2 Responsibilities In The Team Are Taken Up & Group Work Conventions Are Applied In Learning Situations.

 Effective group work requires full participation from all members of the group. Not everyone has the same personality, however, and sometimes in a group of people some are more dominant and others are more retiring. To make sure that everyone does participate, there are conventions that govern group work. You will recall that in Section 4.2 we made use of these conventions, when we gave each person in the group a role to perform, with the addition that each member should support the others in their roles, and that the roles would rotate in another project

Observe the definitions of the following words to get a better understanding of the roles within the group.


 To watch over (an activity or job) to make certain that it is done correctly.

2. Mentoring

    A person who gives another person help and advice over a period of time and often also teaches them how to do their job.

3. Rotation of roles

 Roles are fulfilled by different people at different times, within the group.

4. Conducting

 To organise and perform.

5. Chairing

 The official position of the person in charge of a meeting or organisation, or a position in an official group.

6. Recording

 To keep information for the future. A record is a piece of information or a description of an event that is written on a paper or stored on a computer.

7. Reporting

To give a description of (something) or information about it to someone. If you report back to someone, you bring information to them.

5.3 Conflict Management & Negotiating Techniques Are Practised In Diverse Contexts.

 In occupational learning programmes, communication skills may be needed in order to deal with conflict. Conflict can take different forms. It can be a minor disagreement over a minor issue and pass out of the picture. At the other extreme it can be a long-term, ongoing opposition between 2 people. The conflict is not necessarily noisy; it may not be expressed in words but in hostile deeds. Sometimes there is a build-up of anger to the point of violence. One thing that is always there is a fixed attitude; a situation of deadlock. Conflict management is the skill of shifting such an attitude from a deadlocked opposition to one where the people in conflict are dealing with their hostility.

Anger is usually experienced in a negative light and people nearby are often keen to stop the conflict by trying to get the participants to stop being angry. Unfortunately this often makes it worse. Another way of understanding conflict is to see the anger as the result of some other feeling, such as fear or frustration, and to manage the situation so that the person can express the feelings behind their anger. If both people can express such feelings, and can hear and understand the feelings of the other person, the situation will change. There may still be grounds for conflict, but what changes is how people deal with it

Conflict management

For any organisation to be effective and efficient in achieving its goals, the people in the organisation need to have a shared vision of what they are striving to achieve, as well as clear objectives for each team. They also need ways of recognising and resolving conflict amongst people, so that conflict does not become so serious that co-operation is impossible. Conflict management is the process of planning to avoid conflict where possible and resolving conflict when it does happen, as rapidly and smoothly as possible.

Signs of conflict within groups.

  • Cliques meeting to discuss issues separately, when they affect the whole organisation.
  • One group being left out of organising an event that should include everybody.
  • Groups using threatening slogans or symbols to show their group is right and the others are wrong.

Practice conflict management :

  • share information by keeping people in the group up-to-date with current issues
  • express positive expectations about each other
  • empower each other
  • team build by promoting good morale and protecting the groups reputation with outsiders
  • resolve potential conflict – by bringing differences of opinion into the open and facilitating resolution of conflicts.
Activity 11: Conflict management

You will work in groups of three.  Two will be the angry people, the arguers, and the third will act as arbitrator.

Choose one of the following scenarios:

  • Two fellow learners arguing over a video that was not returned in time
  • A learner and a facilitator argue about a late assignment
  • A parent and teenage child argue about staying out late at night
  • A labourer and a employer argue about wages
  • A boy and a girl argue about leaving a party early

If you are an arguer, consider your role, and build up a case.  The arguers should have a minute or two to get their argument going.

If you are arbitrator, your job is not to judge the arguers, not to take sides, but to get them talking about what they are feeling.  But remember, if you start by opposing them (“Please stop behaving like this”) you will make it worse. Instead of focussing on their anger, try listening to what they are saying rather than how they are saying it.  Then you

may be able to reflect that back to them.  If you say something like “So what you’re saying is …” it lets the person know that you are listening to them, that you understand their point of view, and that you are empathising with them.

Then do the same for the other person.  (An arbitrator does not take sides.) Try to get people talking about their own feelings.  “When you say … I feel …”

The arbitrator’s job is not to stop the conflict (only the arguers can do that).  Your job is

to change the balance from 2 people shouting at each other accusingly to two people telling each other what has been making them angry.  If you can do that, you have managed the conflict, and possibly set the arguers on the road to settling the conflict for themselves.

At that point, stop the roleplay and discuss what has been happening, and how you each experienced it.  Talk about what worked and why, and if something did not work, talk about how you could do it better.

Now change roles, take another topic, and try another role play with someone else as the arbitrator.

You will have completed this activity successfully if you have gained some insight into:

  1. the difference between conflict and fighting
  2. the fact that behind a person’s anger is a deeper cause
  3. the value of reflecting people’s feelings with understanding
  4. the importance of getting people to speak about what is really behind their anger


This is the process where mandated representatives of groups in a conflict situation meet in order to resolve their differences and to reach an agreement.

It is a deliberate process, conducted by representatives of the group, designed to reconcile differences and to reach agreements by consensus.. Negotiations often involve compromise – one group may win one of their demands and give in to another.

5.4 Team Work Results In Meaningful Products, Outcomes Or Goals.

Reaching consensus

Consensus is a decision that has been reached when most members of the team agree on a clear option and the few who oppose it think they have had an opportunity to influence that choice. All team members agree to support the decision. To make this definition work, a team decides, in advance, what “most” means for the group. In a large group, that’s typically 75% to 80%; in a small working group of five or six people, it might mean that four or five must agree.

But getting to consensus does not just happen. Groups need to take deliberate steps in order to get to a point where they will have consensus. Here is a process that Hoffman and Ness created and have used with dozens of groups and teams in their work in Washington.

Preparation Phase

Groups should spend some time in the beginning establishing how they will work together and exactly what work they will do.

  1. State the situation.

One of the facilitator’s key responsibilities with any team is ensuring that the group understands what it’s expected to do. Hoffman suggests that the facilitator verbally explain her expectations to the group and then work with the group to put those expectations into a written charge statement.

Questions that the group answers in this document include: What is the team’s goal? Is this group making a decision, advising on a decision that will be made by another group, or collecting information that will be used by another decision-making body? What product is the group expected to produce? How often will the group meet? Who will set the agenda? What are the operating norms for the group? What budgetary constraints must the team work within? What is the deadline for this work?

Hoffman said discussing the group’s understanding and expectation for its work helps reduce the possibility of confusion. “We assume everybody’s working on the same problem but often we’re not,” Hoffman said.

  1. Identify the group’s operating norms.

Understanding the behavioural expectations for the group is as important as understanding the group’s goal. Although spelling out a group’s norms may feel awkward in a small group, knowing those expectations can eliminate confusion and misunderstandings down the road.

For example, team members might want to say out loud that each meeting will begin at the agreed upon time, that participants will pay full attention during the team meeting, but that they are allowed to bring snacks and drinks to the meeting table.

Possibilities Phase

This is a time to get as many options on the table as possible. During the possibilities phase, the facilitator is responsible for ensuring that the group does not begin evaluating individual options which could damage the process.

  1. Brainstorm options.

After the team has done its reading, interviews, and examined the necessary data, it is ready to identify various options for action. Participants are encouraged to let the ideas flow without trying to sell or explain their ideas.

Several styles of brainstorming could be used: free-for-all where everyone verbally shares ideas; a round-robin in which each participant takes a turn and shares one idea; journaling in which participants write down all their ideas and then share then with the entire group.

Whichever form of brainstorming is chosen, all ideas are eventually announced publicly and written on a flip chart.

  1. Dialogue about the options.

Once a list of options is created, the group spends time ensuring that each participant understands each option. Participants ask clarifying questions and share examples to ensure that everyone understands each option fully. The group avoids evaluating the options.

Probing Phase

Where the first two phases open up and broaden the decision-making process, the final two phases narrow possibilities by analysing and eliminating options.

  1. Eliminate unacceptable options.

Quickly eliminate options for which team members have little enthusiasm or support. Invite participants to vote by placing sticky dots next to their favourite options. (Calculate one third the total number of options on the list. If there are 15 options on the list, give each participant five sticky dots.)

  1. Develop criteria for evaluating remaining options.

As the team moves into decision making, participants must be clear about the standards that will be used to evaluate the acceptability of each option. “A group will reach consensus more easily when all participants apply the same criteria,” Hoffman said.

“This process makes visual what people are thinking so the team does not fall into the trap of the loudest voices making the choices,” Hoffman said.

  1. Discuss the options.

Any team member who does not support an option should state his or her concern. The team responds by trying to problem solve those concerns. The discussion continues until most of the team supports the option.

  1. Declaring Phase

When an option has achieved the support of most of the group and everyone has been able to influence the choices, the group moves into the declaring phase. In this phase, the group takes the final steps to ensure that everyone has been heard, knows they have been heard, and agrees to move together into implementation.

  1. Determine levels of support.

Before participants can determine their level of commitment to an option, they must understand what the group expects for each level of commitment.

Create a chart with categories labelled “minimal support,” “moderate support,” “proactive support,” and “maximum support.” Solicit and chart ideas from the group about what each level of support looks like.

  1. Declare the group’s decision.

The facilitator reminds the group that it has agreed on a definition of consensus and that the group has reached a consensus on the option it will pursue.

6 Reflect On How Characteristics Of The Workplace & Occupational Context Affect Learning

6.1 Sector & Organisation Type Is Identified.

Government is one of the largest employers in South Africa. As government employees are paid by money raised from taxes they are known as public servants.


Parastatals can be defined as state owned companies The best known examples are Transnet of which SAA is a subsidiary, and Eskom. Telkom was a parastatal until 2003 when it was privatised, i.e. shares were issued and sold to the general public. In the agricultural sphere South Africa used to have a system of agricultural boards which stabilised prices for farmers. However this system was seen to be inefficient and farmers are now required to sell their produce at free market (“world”) prices

Heavy industries

Heavy Industries can be described as those industries that produce basic materials, such as steel

Medium industries

Medium industries produce items such as cars.

Light industries

Light industries produce goods such as computer parts.

Let us now look at some differences between large organisations and small businesses. Some examples of large organisations are Old Mutual, all the major banks, Anglo American, De Beers Mining and so on. Large organisations are often a mix of bureaucratic rules and fairly progressive thinking. There are many advantages to working for a big organisation. The benefits are usually very good and there is a sense of stability.

Small businesses on the other hand are enterprises which are started by one or two people who usually put up their own capital. An example of a small business could be a business which makes ornaments out of the bark of a certain

tree and employs four people. The rewards for working in a small business are that one could experience a greater challenge and feel more directly involved in the process. Some of the disadvantages are that one could be insecure, have an irregular income and not be assured of benefits.

Activity 12: Who does what where? (Pairs)

Below is a description of some employees. Underneath that is a list of possible work environments from which they come.  Match the letter of the employee description with the number of the appropriate work environment.


A      A worker producing steel girders

B      An air hostess for SAA

C      A literacy trainer

D      A designer of optic fibres

E      A person making pressed flower pictures

F      An insurance agent

G      A grape picker

H       A director of Telkom

I        A worker fitting together tractor parts

J        A waitron

Work environments:

A        Light industry

B        Heavy industry

C        Medium industry

D        Financial

E        Educational

F        Agricultural

G        Parastatal

H        Large organisation

I        Small business

J           Service industry

6.2 Features Of The Occupational Environment Are Described & Discussed.

 What do we mean when we refer to the occupational environment? Our environment refers to our surroundings. It can be defined as our social and physical conditions; the conditions that surround people and affect the way they live.

We spend the bulk of our adult life in some or other occupation. Most adults, depending on the level they attain in education, will work from their early twenties until they retire at sixty or sixty five. Obviously in economically depressed areas with few educational facilities, people might start work at a much younger age and be forced to continue working until they are too old or sick to do so.

Also in some parts of the world, unemployment is a major problem, and so not all adults can find work. The figure for unemployment in South Africa varies according to the source but ranges from estimates of 20 to 40 percent.

Activity 13: What  are  the  most  glaring  differences  between  Amelia  and  Magda’s  workplace environments?  What do they both have in common?

A) Amelia Bezuidenhout has a diploma in Agricultural She started work for the business AgriGro twelve years ago. AgriGro is responsible for supplying the top twenty wine estates in the Western Cape with young vines. Amelia is currently the Director of New Business Section. She earns R160 000 per annum. She has annual leave of 25 working days and has 2 days sick leave available per month. Amelia regularly attends workshops both here in South Africa and abroad where she learns about new developments in vine production and the economics of viticulture. Amelia enjoys the challenges she faces in her career and looks forward to a long career with AgriGro. Her ambition is to one day be the Chief Executive Officer of the business.

B) Magda Maxwell has a grade 3 She started work as a labourer on a wine estate when she was fourteen years old. She has worked on different wine estates for the past twenty years. She now earns R350 per week. She has one week’s paid leave a year. She does not qualify for sick leave benefits. Recently Magda’s employer has sent the staff to Adult Literacy classes where she is improving her literacy and numeracy skills. Magda would like to stop work as she has chronic back pain and suffers from dizzy spells. She does not however have a pension fund so feels she must continue working. She would like a job where she did not have to do such heavy manual labour.


Amelia earns considerably more than Magda;

Amelia has far better leave conditions than Magda does;

Amelia enjoys her work whereas Magda would like a different job;

What they both have in common is that both have opportunities to learn. (Note that Amelia is learning skills specifically related to her occupation whereas Magda is learning more general skills

Occupational focus

Clearly there is an enormous range of occupations. Let us spend some time looking at the focus of some of these occupations.

One important category of occupation is that of services or service delivery. This refers to the range of services supplied by different people.

The service industry – broadly speaking – refers to that group of industries involved in providing services, as opposed to primary industries (such as agriculture and mining) and secondary industries (manufacturing and production). Service industries are commonly known as tertiary industries. The term “services” covers a huge range of economic activities, including retailing, banking, insurance, catering, medicine, law, accountancy, cleaning, teaching, television production, the civil service, sport, transport, and many more activities

It is possible to break down the service industry into smaller components such as financial or educational and see these as each having a separate occupational focus.

In financial one would include all aspects relating to finance such as insurance and banking.

In educational one would include all practitioners in the educational sphere such as pre-school teachers, lecturers, trainers and literacy workers.

Over the past century the service sector has expanded in the developed world. The service sector is now the most important sector in the advanced economies, accounting for about two thirds of the total economy in countries such as the United Kingdom and the United States.

Another very significant arena of occupational focus is that relating to the manufacturing field.

Manufacturing refers to any process in which materials or items are brought together and work is performed on them to make a saleable product. The work is done to convert the separate components into an object that has more value. The manufacturer sells it and pays the wages of the workforce and other costs relating to the manufacture. The money left after paying the cost of manufacture, distribution, and sale of the product may be distributed as profit to shareholders in the company or invested in research and development of new products.

The efficiency with which raw materials or components can be brought together affects the amount of profit the manufacturer can make when the product is sold. Important points to consider when manufacturing a product are: matching the market size (how many people will want to buy the product) with the materials and methods, or processes, by which the product may be made; and making the best use possible of the factory, machines, and workers.

Modern methods of manufacturing involve computers, which may be used to control the machines that make and assemble components. Using computer-controlled

machines to cut or form a product is called computer numerical control (CNC) machining. Computers may also be used to control the movement of materials, components, and finished

products around the factory and the distribution of the products to their points of sale. Organizing the movement of products or

parts from one location to another is known as logistics. Computers can also be used to design a product.

There is also the mining industry which employs many people in mineral rich South Africa. In addition there is the field of agriculture,

into which you would fall although you may end up providing a service or even playing a role in the educational field. As mentioned earlier, mining and agriculture are referred to as primary industries.

Activity 14Mix & Match (Individual)

Make a list of at least thirty different occupations.

Now classify each one according to its occupational focus, as explained above. You will thus choose from: Services; Financial; Manufacturing; Mining; Agricultural or Educational.

6.3 Ways In Which These Features Affect Learning Processes And / Or Application Of Learning Are Described & Discussed.

The Entrepreneurial Start-up (the simple structure)

The simple structure is characterised, above all, by what is not elaborated. Typically, it has little or no techno-structure, few support staffers, a loose division of labour, minimal differentiation among its units, and a small managerial hierarchy. Little of its behaviour is formalised, and it makes minimal use of planning, training, and liaison devices.

Coordination in the simple structure is effected largely by direct supervision. Specifically, power over all important decisions tends to be centralised in the hands of the chief executive officer. Thus, the strategic apex emerges as the key part of the structure; indeed, the structure often consists of little more than a one-person strategic apex and an organic operating core.

Most organisations pass through the simple structure in their formative years. The environment of the simple structure tends to be at one and the same time simple and dynamic. A simple environment can be comprehended by a single individual, and so enables decision making to be controlled by that individual. A dynamic environment means organic structure: Because its future state cannot be predicted, the organisation cannot effect coordination by standardisation.

Another condition common to simple structures is a technical system that is both non-sophisticated and non-regulating. Sophisticated ones require elaborate staff support structures, to which power over technical decisions must be delegated, and regulating ones call for bureaucratisation of the operating core.

The Machine Bureaucracy

A clear configuration of the design parameters has held up consistently in the research: highly specialised, routine operating tasks; very formalised procedures in the operating core; a proliferation of rules, regulations, and formalised communication throughout the organisation; large-sized units at the operating level; reliance on the functional basis for grouping tasks; relatively centralised power for decision making; and an elaborate administrative structure with sharp distinctions between line and staff.

Because the machine bureaucracy depends primarily on the standardisation of its operating work processes for coordination, the techno-structure – that houses the analysts who do the standardising – emerges as the key part of the structure.

Machine bureaucratic work is found, above all, in environments that are simple and stable. The work of complex environments cannot be rationalised into simple tasks, and that of dynamic environments cannot be predicted, made repetitive, and so standardised.

The machine bureaucracy is typically found in the mature organisation, large enough to have the volume of operating work needed for repetition and standardisation, and old enough to have been able to settle on the standards it wishes to use. Machine bureaucracies tend also to be identified with regulating technical systems, since these routines work and so enable it to be formalised.

The managers at the strategic apex of these organisations are concerned in large part with the fine-tuning of their bureaucratic machines. These are “performance organisations” not “problem solving” ones. Theirs is a perpetual search for more efficient ways to produce given outputs. Thus, the entrepreneur function takes on a very restricted form at the strategic apex.

The Professional Bureaucracy

The professional bureaucracy relies for coordination on the standardisation of skills and its associated design parameter, training and indoctrination. It hires duly trained and indoctrinated specialists – professionals – for the operating core, and then gives them considerable control over their work. Control over his own work means that the professional works relatively independently of his colleagues, but closely with the clients he serves. Most necessary coordination between the operating professionals is handled by the standardisation of skills and knowledge – in effect, by what they have learned to expect from their colleagues.

Whereas the machine bureaucracy generates its own standards – its techno structure designing the work standards for its operators and its line managers enforcing them – the standards of the professional bureaucracy originate largely outside its own structure, in the self-governing association its operators join with their colleagues from other professional bureaucracies. The professional bureaucracy emphasises authority of a professional nature – the power of expertise.

The strategies of the professional bureaucracy are largely ones of the individual professionals within the organisation as well as of the professional associations on the outside. The professional bureaucracy’s own strategies represent the cumulative effect over time of the projects, or strategic “initiatives,” that its members are able to convince it to undertake.

The technical system cannot be highly regulating, certainly not highly automated. The professional resists the rationalisation of his skills – their division into simply executed steps – because that makes them programmable by the techno structure, destroys his basis of autonomy, and drives the structure to the machine bureaucratic form.

Like the machine bureaucracy, the professional bureaucracy is an inflexible structure, well suited to producing its standard outputs but ill-suited to adapting to the production of new ones.

Change in the professional bureaucracy does not sweep in from new administrators taking office to announce major reforms. Rather, change seeps in by the slow process of changing the professionals – changing who can enter the profession, what they learn in its professional schools (norms as well as skills and knowledge), and thereafter how willing they are to upgrade their skills.

The Adhocracy (the innovative organisation)

In adhocracy, we have a highly organic structure, with little formalisation of behaviour; job specialisation based on formal training; a tendency to group the specialists in functional units for housekeeping purposes but to deploy them in small, market-based project teams to do their work; a reliance on liaison devices to encourage mutual adjustment, the key coordinating mechanism, within and between these teams.

To innovate means to break away from established patterns. So the innovative organisation cannot rely on any form of standardisation for coordination. Of all the configurations, adhocracy shows the least reverence for the classical principles of management, especially unity of command. The adhocracy must hire and give power to experts – professionals whose knowledge and skills have been highly developed in training programs.

Unlike the professional bureaucracy, the adhocracy cannot rely on the standardised skills of these experts to achieve coordination, because that would lead to standardisation instead of innovation. Rather, it must treat existing knowledge and skills merely as bases on which to build new ones. Moreover, the building of new knowledge and skills requires the combination of different bodies of existing knowledge. So rather than allowing the specialisation of the expert or the differentiation of the functional unit to dominate its behaviour, the adhocracy must instead break through the boundaries of conventional specialisation and differentiation. Whereas each professional in the professional bureaucracy can operate on his own, in the adhocracy professionals must amalgamate their efforts. In adhocracies the different specialists must join forces in multi-disciplinary teams, each formed around a specific project of innovation.