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Definition and background of learning to learn skills

Learning to learn also known as Lifelong learning is the ability to pursue and persist in learning, to organize one's own learning, including through effective management of time and information, both individually and in groups (Hoskins, 2010). Lifelong learning is viewed as involving all strategies that are put in place to created opportunities for people to learn throughout life. It is about learning of what, how, when and where one wants to learn (Marjan Laal, 2014). According to Gould (2009) and Fredriksson (2013) there are various considerations when defining and describing this concept. These include:

  • Awareness of one's learning process and needs, identifying available opportunities
  • Ability to overcome obstacles in order to learn successfully
  • Gaining, processing and assimilating new knowledge and skills
  • Seeking and making use of guidance
  • Build on prior learning and life experience: at home at work, in education and training
  • Motivation and Confidence

Learners can be distinguished between intention learners and self-directed. Becoming an intentional learner means developing self-awareness about the reason for study, the learning process itself, and how education is used. Intentional learners are integrative thinkers who see connections in seemingly disparate information to inform their decisions.

Self-directed learners are highly motivated, independent, and strive toward self-direction and autonomy (Ciechanowska, 2011)., They take the initiative to diagnose their learning needs, formulate learning goals, identify resources for learning, select and implement learning strategy, and evaluate learning outcomes (Savin-Baden and Major, 2004). When it comes to students learning for life, they should learn to:

  • Effectively communicate orally, visually, in writing, and in a second language
  • Understand and employ quantitative and qualitative analysis to solve problems
  • Interpret and evaluate information from a variety of sources
  • Understand and work within complex systems and with diverse groups       
  • Demonstrate intellectual agility and the ability to manage change
  • Transform information into knowledge and knowledge into judgment and action

In addition to intellectual skills, the learning should include ways of investigating human society and the natural world such as the human imagination, expression, and the products of many cultures; the interrelations within and among global and cross-cultural communities; means of modelling the natural, social, and technical etc.