Monday, September 9, 2013

PeopleKeys (Schoolhouse Review)

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Students learn in many different ways. Parents soon learn that a curriculum that works with one child may not be a great fit for another. It can be helpful for parents, teachers, and older students to learn more about each student’s individual strengths (and weaknesses) in order to be as successful as they can be in both schoolwork and in social interactions.

StudentKeys Online Student Strengths Report ($20), by PeopleKeys, is one tool for ages 13 to adult, that can help students (or adults) learn more about their learning and personality styles and those of others.

This is how the PeopleKeys website describes the StudentKeys Strengths Report:

The StudentKeys Student Strengths Report uses three unique assessments (DISC Personality Style, Perceptual Learning Style, Cognitive Thinking Style) to provide a simple, yet profound, tool to help students uncover their personal strengths, then apply that information to everyday communication and learning situations. The Student Strengths Report will help students recognize their distinctive personality strengths, learning styles and thinking preferences. 

StudentKeys is an innovative strength-based program designed to help identify, appreciate and capitalize on learning strengths. The Student Strengths Report will motivate and empower students to reach their full potential by identifying and enhancing personal motivation, communication, learning and thinking preferences.

    What you will get:
  • Introduction - why learning styles are important
  • Perceptual Style - how you absorb information
  • Learning Tips - based on your style
  • Cognitive Style - how you process information
  • How you Think - capitalizing on your strengths
  • Personality Style - strengths and limitations
  • Communication - improve and strengthen relationships
  • Action Plan - applying what you have learned

The Student Strength Report includes valuable "must-have" information for students, educators and parents. The information generated from our university validated assessments allows students to learn more, retain more, understand better, improve their grades and reach their full potential.

StudentKeys (and the other helpful assessment tools offered by People Keys) are available in both printed and online formats. We used the online format.

First, Emily sat down at the computer to take the “test.” The assessment asked her a variety of questions about her study preferences, preferred activities, how she related to others, and so on. This only took about 20-30 minutes, which surprised me. I had expected it to take much longer! I watched her take the test, but tried not to give any input, other than reminding her to read the questions carefully, as she seemed to be rushing through. I had to bite my tongue at points, because some of her answers were NOT what I would have expected from her. Because of this, I wasn’t sure the results would be very valid.

After she finished the test, we downloaded and printed out the results, which were a surprising 34 pages long! Actually only a few pages of the report were her personal results; the rest gave additional helpful information about her learning style and the other learning styles. There were 3 different aspects of personality/learning/ thinking that were covered.

Personality Styles: This section explained how people have different personality styles (drive, influencing, steadiness, and compliance) and how it is important to understand others’ styles in order to understand them and to relate to them better. Emily is an “I” style, which means that she is sociable, talkative, warm, trusting, and an encourager. On the negative side, she can be disorganized and inattentive to details, since she values relationship over achievement. (This definitely pegs her!)

Perceptual Learning Styles: Of the three styles—visual, auditory, and kinesthetic—Emily was labeled kinesthetic, although her auditory score was only one point behind. This section gave lots of tips that we will use for adjusting her work environment and educational activities to help her learn more efficiently. There were also 2 pages for “designing your work environment,” that are very helpful.

Cognitive Thinking Styles: This style describes the way that individuals process and assimilate the knowledge they learn. The categories are: Literal Thinkers, Intuitive Thinkers, Theoretical Thinkers, and Experiential Thinkers. Emily was classified as an Experiential Thinker, which means that she needs to experience something to learn it, that she wants to see a purpose for learning a new skill, and that she dislikes routine.

Since I tend to teach in the way I learn best, and often become frustrated when Emily doesn’t seem to remember what she has “learned,” I am going to be making some changes in our home school in order to incorporate what I’ve learned in this assessment. I have tried to adjust to my kids’ perceptual learning styles, but haven’t ever thought about the other areas, so this was new and helpful for me.

I liked that the results came with suggestion for changes to adapt for the different strengths and weaknesses. I did feel that the report could have been organized a bit better. Some of the information was quite repetitive from page to page and not as “to the point” as it could have been. Also, Emily’s results tended to be in the middle of the section instead of the first page. I would liked  to first see results, then descriptions of the styles, then suggestions for adapting environment and learning to the styles.

Overall, we found this to be quite enlightening and will referring back to the results through the year.

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I recieived this product free in exchange for my honest review.

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