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Development models for learning to learn

Development models of learning how to learn (Daniel K. Apple, 2015)

Approaches vary depending on whether the person is in the early stages of learning or is in the advanced stages. The complexities of learning to learn also increase as one gets mature and they vary in accordance to the environment the skills and knowledge acquired will apply to. Though varying in many ways, they all revolve around the capacity to read text, numbers or situations, the capacity to transform the data or information into meaningful messages, the ability to apply or make others apply. Therefore, some of effective approaches which teachers can use to develop learning capabilities and the characteristics identified in the review include the following:

  • structured tasks that focus on specific metacognitive strategies in the context of the lesson/subject
  • capacity built into activities in lessons for more explicit transactions between the learner and the teacher concerning the purpose of the activity
  • small group interactions promoting the articulation of the use of strategies during teaching
  • mechanisms built into the task to promote the checking of mutual understanding of the goals by peers and with the teacher
  • enhanced opportunities for the learner to receive diagnostic feedback linked directly to the task. For example, in science, explicit processes necessary for designing experiments should be identified, such as planning, justifying and evaluating and tasks developed within the specific context of the lessons to scaffold learners’ performance and to establish effective feedback loops to monitor progress.

According to Vauras et al. (1999), in another example, inquiry skills are developed by envisioning snapshots of what it would mean to be successful at each stage of the task combined with consolidation through the completion of concrete tasks. The key components of the interventions are planning, based on a good understanding of the processes of learning, key concepts of the content to be studied, and an awareness of the learning context. There is also support for the view that the orientation towards learning should be one in which success results from appropriately guided effort and not on a construct of ability.

In short, approaches which explicitly develop learners’ awareness of strategies and learning techniques by which they can succeed are effective, particularly when they are targeted at the metacognitive level.

Stages for elevating thinking skills (Daniel K. Apple, 2015).

  1. The first stage in applying thinking to the learning process is actively thinking about what you already know, and transferring prior knowledge and different life experiences to the current learning challenge.
  2. The second stage is processing the available information through effective reading using a very thoughtful and purposeful methodology.
  3. The next stage is to clarify the learning goals and expectations so that a plan can be created for achieving these learning outcomes.
  4. The crucial stage of the learning experience is thinking critically by using relevant information and prior knowledge to analyse and understand models and examples. Comprehension is enhanced by conversing with others and writing to learn
  5. The final stage is applying the thinking skills needed to contextualize and generalize this knowledge so that it can be transferred to new problem-solving situations.