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Learning to learn strategies & techniques

Learning to learn strategies (Weinstein, 2000)

‘Learning to learn’ strategies include any thoughts, behaviors, beliefs, or emotions that facilitate the acquisition, understanding, or later application and transfer of new knowledge and skills in different performance contexts. They range from active rehearsal to help remember word lists, to the use of elaboration and organization to encode, integrate, and later recall or apply knowledge across several content areas. Learning to learn strategies help generate meaning for the new information that is to be learned.

They all are designed to help the learner generate meaning and store the new information in memory in a manner that will facilitate integration with related knowledge and increase the probability of later recall and use, particularly in transfer contexts.

A learning strategy is also a plan for orchestrating cognitive resources to help reach a learning goal. ‘Learning to learn’ strategies have several characteristics in common.

  1. First, they are goal-directed: ie they are used to help meet a standard of performance or to reach a learning goal.
  2. Second, they are intentionally invoked, which implies at least some level of active selection. The selection of one or more of these strategies is determined by a number of factors, such as a student's prior experience with the strategy, his or her prior experience with similar learning tasks, his or her ability to deal with distractions, and the student's commitment to his or her goals.
  3. Third, cognitive learning strategies are effortful; they require time and often involve using multiple, highly interactive steps. Because of the effort required, a student must be motivated to initiate and maintain strategy use (e.g., see Motivation, Learning, and Instruction). In addition, the student must believe that the strategy will be effective and that he or she can be successful using the strategy.
  4. Finally, cognitive learning strategies are not universally applicable—they are situation-specific. The student's goals, the task requirements, the context, and other factors all interact to help determine which strategy may be best. To be successful in selecting and using a strategy, a student must understand under what circumstances a given strategy is, or is not appropriate.

Techniques/Tools for learning how to learn (Fredriksson, 2013).

  1. Reading literacy: “An individual’s capacity to understand, use and reflect on written texts, in order to achieve one’s goals, to develop one’s knowledge and potential and to participate in society”
  2. Mathematic literacy: An individual’s capacity to identify and understand the role that mathematics plays in the world, to make well- founded judgements and to use and engage with mathematics in ways that meet the needs of that individual’s life as a constructive, concerned and reflective citizen
  3. Scientific literacy : An individual’s scientific knowledge and use of that knowledge to identify questions, to acquire new knowledge, to explain scientific phenomena, and to draw evidence based conclusions about science-related issues, understanding of the characteristic features of science as a form of human knowledge and enquiry, awareness of how science and technology shape our material, intellectual, and cultural environments, and willingness to engage in science-related issues, and with the ideas of science, as a reflective citizen
  4. Problem solving: Problem solving is an individual’s capacity to use cognitive processes to confront and resolve real, cross-disciplinary situations where the solution path is not immediately obvious and where the literacy domains or curricular areas that might be applicable are not within a single domain of mathematics, science or reading” (Valencia J. A., 2014).