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Edmonton Catholic Schools

Learning to Learn

Your path for most effective learning is through knowing

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

It may be easy for you to learn physics but impossible to learn tennis, or vice versa.
All learning, however, is a process which settles into certain steps.
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 presentHow 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 th​e process, the subject matterWhat 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 reviewWhat 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?

adapted from Joe Landsberger