Your Study Guides and Strategies starts here!

They know enough who know how to learn.
Henry Brooks Adams,
1838 - 1918
American journalist/author

Learning to learn series

Learning to learn

Text version

Your path for most effective learning is through knowing

    • yourself
    • your capacity to learn
    • the process you have successfully used in the past
    • your interest in, and knowledge of, the subject you wish to learn

It may be easy for you to learn physics but difficult to learn tennis,
or vice versa. All learning, however, is a process which settles
into certain steps.

These are four steps to learning.
Begin by printing this and answering the questions.
Then plan your strategy with your answers,
and with other "Study Guides

Begin
with the past

What was your experience about how you learn? Did you

 
    • like to read? solve problems? memorize? recite? interpret? speak to groups?
    • know how to summarize?
    • ask questions about what you studied?
    • review?
    • have access to information from a variety of sources?
    • like quiet or study groups?
    • need several brief study sessions, or one longer one?

What are your study habits?
How did they evolve? Which worked best? worst?

How did you communicate what you learned best? Through a written test, a term paper, an interview?

Proceed to the
present

How interested am I in this?
How much time do I want to spend learning this?
What competes for my attention?

 

Are the circumstances right for success?
What can I control, and what is outside my control?
Can I change these conditions for success?

What affects my dedication to learning this?

Do I have a plan? Does my plan consider my past experience and learning style?

Consider the
process,

the subject matter

What is the heading or title?
What are key words that jump out?
Do I understand them?

 

What do I know about this already?
Do I know related subjects?

What kinds of resources and information will help me?
Will I only rely on one source (for example, a textbook) for information?
Will I need to look for additional sources?

As I study, do I ask myself whether I understand?
Should I go more quickly or more slowly?
If I don't understand, do I ask why?

Do I stop and summarize?
Do I stop and ask whether it's logical?
Do I stop and evaluate (agree/disagree)?

Do I just need time to think it over and return later?
Do I need to discuss it with other "learners" in order to process the information?
Do I need to find an authority, such as a teacher, a librarian, or a subject-matter expert?

Build in
review

What did I do right?
What could I do better?
Did my plan coincide with how I work with my strengths and weaknesses?

 

Did I choose the right conditions?
Did I follow through; was I disciplined with myself?

Did I succeed?
Did I celebrate my success?


See also:

Learning to learn | Succeeding in continuing education | Visual/spatial learning |
Learning as a student-athlete | Learning as an adult | Learning with ADHD |
Active learning | Action learning | Language learning strategies |
Exploring your personal learning style | Learning folder

This page draws upon "metacognition," a term coined by Flavell (1976), and expanded upon by many.