education learning

For students: The Learning to Learn project

Earlier this year I launched a small project in my department, called Learning to Learn. The aim of the project is to share and discuss with students a range of evidence-based techniques that improve their ability to learn. I realised that, for many of my students, learning was something that they were simply expected to know how to do. No-one had ever explicitly helped them to improve the strategies they used to learn and few had considered the fact that learning is a skill that can be improved.

Doing well at university is easy. All you have to do is work hard. But, don’t you already work hard? Maybe it’s time to work differently.

The project is in the form of a monthly face-to-face seminar series, with supplementary material shared via a weekly newsletter. Since many of my students can’t make the F2F session I also provide extended notes where they can download the slides, find additional readings and resources, and in the future, listen to short audio summaries of the topic.

The idea isn’t that these strategies will lead to better grades – although they might – but that students develop more effective approaches to learning that help them to feel less anxious, overwhelmed and uncertain. The strategies are all simple, free, and can be implemented immediately (although they may not always be easy to implement).

So far I’ve created modules on:

I’ll also be publishing modules on How to read, How to write, Preparing for tests, and Getting enough sleep.

If you think that this is something that your students may benefit from, please feel free to share the link to the project with them. I won’t be running the F2F seminars for the next few months anyway, so the project notes and weekly newsletters will be all that’s happening for now. Students (anyone, actually) can sign up for the newsletter on the project page and are free to unsubscribe at any time.

Note: The next newsletter is due to go out on Friday the 27th of March, so this might be a good time to sign up and get a sense of what it’s about.

By Michael Rowe

I'm a lecturer in the Department of Physiotherapy at the University of the Western Cape in Cape Town, South Africa. I'm interested in technology, education and healthcare and look for places where these things meet.