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Skills Check 0

The Skills Check is a short survey which should take you no more than 3 minutes to complete. Once you have completed the Skills Check we provide you with a personal learning plan targeted to your personal study needs and goals.

Sign in to work on the Skills Check.
  1. Home
  2. Core skills
  3. Developing academic English
  4. The importance of language skills

The importance of language skills

Language is absolutely central to your learning: without it, you cannot make sense or communicate your understanding of a subject.

You will need to develop your language skills, and specifically, your academic English, in order to:

  • understand and make the most effective use of your study materials
  • develop the specialised language and vocabulary relevant to your subject
  • interpret assignment questions and select relevant and appropriate material for your response
  • write well-structured and coherently presented assignments, without plagiarism
  • communicate your needs to your tutors
  • work productively with other students.

Depending on the level of OU study you are engaged in, click on the tab to see the skills you are expected to develop as you learn. A good command of English is vital to many of these skills.

Knowledge and understanding

Level 1Level 2Level 3
Show that you know and understand the principles, concepts and terms central to your subject Show knowledge and critical understanding of the principles, concepts and techniques in your subject Show your awareness of current thinking and developments. Show your knowledge and critical understanding of your subject, including some specialist areas.

Analytical skills

Level 1Level 2Level 3
Use your knowledge and understanding to describe, analyse and interpret particular aspects of your subject Apply your knowledge and understanding to issues and questions relevant to your subject. Apply established techniques to critically evaluate your subject in a range of contexts Select the appropriate techniques to analyse questions in your subject. Be aware of the limitations of these methods. Synthesize, evaluate and challenge information from different sources. Recognise the limits of knowledge in your own subject.

Communication

Level 1Level 2Level 3
Develop your skills in communicating information accurately and in a way that is appropriate to your subject, purpose and audience. This includes collaborative and group working. Communicate information, ideas and arguments effectively, using a style and language appropriate to your subject, purpose and audience. This includes collaborative and group working. Communicate complex information, ideas and arguments effectively, using a style and language appropriate to your subject, purpose and audience. This includes collaborative and group working.

Information literacy

Level 1Level 2Level 3
Develop skills in finding, selecting and using data in defined contexts Find, critically evaluate and use information or data accurately in a range of contexts. Find, critically evaluate and use information or data accurately in complex contexts.

Learning how to learn

Level 1Level 2Level 3
Become aware of the ways in which you learn and begin to develop as an independent learner. Plan, monitor and review your progress as an independent learner. As an independent learner, plan, monitor and evaluate your own learning and seek ways to improve your performance.

Practical and professional skills

Level 1Level 2Level 3
Develop, as appropriate, practical skills and awareness of relevant ethical issues. Engage, as appropriate, with practical and professional skills and demonstrate an awareness of relevant ethical issues. Engage, as appropriate, with practical and professional skills and relevant ethical issues.

Personal and career development

Level 1Level 2Level 3
Plan your study pathway to link your learning with your personal and/or career goals Recognise and record your skills and knowledge to support your personal and/or career goals. Recognise, record and communicate your skills and knowledge to achieve your personal and/or career goals