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1. Overview

We recommend that you review the material in this section before beginning the on line programme.

The ADL Programme is an on line learning environment:

  • is open 24/7 so you can study when you want to
  • has open access to the ADL programme and your portfolio at any time
  • enables you to study for the length of time that suits you
  • gives you the option to skip areas that you know well or concentrate more on areas that are new to you
  • puts you in control of your own learning so you can study at a time that is convenient to you
  • allows you to study in the comfort of your own room or when you have a quiet period

2. Before starting

Before working through the 10 different challenges that represent the Leadership Journey, do:

  • think through what is important to you and you specifically want to gain from this exercise
  • complete the 2 minute personal review. This will help identify your personal priorities and focus your energies. Each challenge has a “Think” section, material that summarises key topics for your reflection; “Do”, suggested activities to help you personalise the material and make the learning relevant to you; and “Reflect”, a short summary of your thoughts to record in My Portfolio.
  • stop and ask: what do I think right now about leadership? What is it? Why is it important? What kind of leader do I want to be in future?
  • remember that the more you put in, the more you will get out of this exercise. A quick reading of the information may help you “talk” about leadership in a more informed way; it won’t however help you operate as an effective leader. Relate the material to your current context and future plans to gain most benefit.

3. Successful on line learning

The key for successful e-Learning is to be an active learner.

You need to take a direct approach  to managing your learning. There are a number of strategies you can adopt to make you learning successful;

Take responsibility for yourself

  • Responsibility is recognition that in order to succeed you need to make decisions about your priorities, time and resources.

Develop routines and habits for your e-Learning

  • schedule when you study
  • stick to your chosen times
  • study for the full period you have planned
  • select carefully what you study

Put first things first

  • Follow up on the priorities you have set yourself. Don’t let others or other interests distract you.

Discover your key productivity periods and places

  • morning, afternoon, evening
  • weekends, weekdays
  • study spaces where you are most focused and productive

Be directly engaged with your learning

  • Actively try things
  • Apply what you learn through real life examples
  • Read materials related to your chosen subject
  • Search the world-wide web for related information

Effective Reading

  • survey the text – scan the text briefly to get a feel for the content
  • identify your purpose for reading
  • if you are looking for specific information, read the part where you think it will be
  • if you want a general idea of the whole text, read the whole text
  • in both cases ignore words or sections you don’t immediately understand
  • you should now have a general idea of what the text is about
  • do a second more careful reading, noting any new words that are important for your understanding
  • put all the ideas together in your mind

Evaluate what you have read

  • how does it fit into what you already think and know?
  • does it confirm your ideas, add to them, conflict with them?
  • If there are opinions, do you agree or disagree with them?

4. Advice on using your computer

Set up and connect your equipment in accordance with the instructions provided by the supplier or manufacturer. Always be sure that the computer is switched off and disconnected from the mains electrical supply when you connect or disconnect any of the electrical leads.

Working safely 

The use of visual display units (VDU) and other display screen equipment (DSE) has been related to various symptoms to do with sight and working posture. These symptoms are often perceived as fatigue of some kind. Applying simple ergonomic principles to the layout of your work area and how you study can readily prevent them.

Try to position the monitor to minimise glare and reflections on the screen. Suitable lighting is important: remember that glare can occur either directly or by reflection from the screen. Glare from windows can usually be eliminated by curtains or blinds, or by facing the screen in a different direction. It might be a good idea to make adjustments from time to time during the day, as light changes. You should have general lighting, by artificial or natural light or both, that illuminates the whole room adequately.

Eyes and eyesight

Working at a screen for a long time without a break can have effects similar to reading or writing uninterruptedly, and may make your eyes feel 'tired' or sore. You might find that it helps to look away from the screen from time to time and focus your eyes on a distant object.

Making yourself comfortable 

As for any task that means working in one position for some time, it's important to make yourself as comfortable as possible when you use your computer. Place the monitor in front of you and at a comfortable viewing distance. If you're working from a document you might find it better to have that directly in front of you and the screen to one side. Try to position the top of the monitor display slightly below eye level when you're sitting at the keyboard.

Before starting work you should:

Adjust the positions of the screen, the keyboard, the mouse and the documents you're working from, so as to achieve the most comfortable arrangement. Make sure that you have space to use your mouse easily, and rest your wrists in front of the keyboard when not typing.

Adjust the position of your chair to give you a comfortable viewing distance and posture. The screen should probably be somewhere between eighteen and thirty inches away from you, whatever suits you best.

Good keyboard and mouse technique is important. Keep your upper body as relaxed as possible and don't over stretch your wrists and fingers. As a general guide, your forearms should be roughly horizontal and your elbows level with the keyboard or the mouse.

If your feet don't reach the floor when you're sitting in a good position, try a footrest.

Use a document holder when copying from a manuscript.

Take a break 

Whenever you can, try to arrange your study to consist of a combination of work on and away from the screen, to prevent fatigue and to vary visual and mental demands. Long spells of intensive screen work should be broken up by periods of non-intensive work of a different kind.

The nature of your study and the combination of media you're using will determine the length of break you need to prevent fatigue, but as a general rule:

You should take breaks before the onset of fatigue, not in order to recuperate. The timing of the break is more important than its length.

Short, frequent breaks are more satisfactory than occasional, longer breaks. A break of thirty seconds to two minutes after twenty or thirty minutes of continuous work with the screen and keyboard is likely to be more effective than a fifteen-minute break every two hours.

If possible, you should take your breaks away from the screen, and avoid activities that require actions similar to your work (writing, crosswords or needlework, for example