Starting studying again after many years is a challenge, so I decided to put all the tools and knowledge about learning on my side.
Research has shown that the aim of learning is not gathering and remembering an enormous amount of data, but to have or get the correct competencies and attitudes.
The New Zealand curriculum defines the Key Competencies as:
- Relating to others,
- Using language, signs and texts,
- Managing self,
- Participating and contributing.
If we know how to do these, and show that we do know, then we have lots of TRUMPs in our hands.
To reach a better learning, we need to have the right disposition. There are 16 “Habits of Mind” as defined by Professor Arthur L. Costa which are making us better learners. I made a poster and displayed it in the toilets, to remind them frequently to me, and my family. Feel free to print it and do the same!
There are also lots of great thinking tools, like mind mapping or diagrams and many more. Here is a collection of Thinking tools with descriptions and links to templates or online free softwares. And I have made a wordle poster for my office to remind me of using them.
As Benjamin Bloom has described in 1956, there is an order in thinking skills and being aware of it greatly helps reaching the highest level of critical thinking, which is expected in our case of graduate studies. Here are those levels, the easiest at the bottom.
Creating: Generating new ideas, products, or ways of viewing things:
Designing, constructing, planning, producing, inventing.
Evaluating: Justifying a decision or course of action
Checking, hypothesising, critiquing, experimenting, judging
Analysing: Breaking information into parts to explore understandings and relationships
Comparing, organising, de-constructing, interrogating, finding
Applying: Using information in another familiar situation
Implementing, carrying out, using, executing
Understanding: Explaining ideas or concepts
Interpreting, summarising, paraphrasing, classifying, explaining
Remembering: Recalling information
Recognising, listing, describing, retrieving, naming, finding
Another useful awareness is our sensory preferences for learning or learning style. Here is an online quiz to discover yours or confirm it.
My results show that I am a multi-modal learner:
- Visual: 8 : Earlier tests had shown a stronger visual preference: I see it = I remember it. Maybe I am older and this does not work as well now!?
- Aural: 7 – I need to read aloud to hear myself when I want to learn something by heart.
- Read/Write: 13 – normal for a librarian! Quite useful too … I need to write during reading or a lecture / conference to assimilate the content. Well taking notes is always useful I suppose!
- Kinesthetic: 9 – fairly obvious with computer skills, I prefer to explore every menu and try every function rather than reading instructions and I’ve noticed I do not learn computer at all when just looking.