The Key To Learning: Knowing How Learning Works
What’s the key to effective learning? One intriguing body of research suggests a rather riddle-like answer: It’s not just what you know. It’s what you know about what you know. To put it in more straightforward terms, anytime a student learns, he or she has to bring in two kinds of prior knowledge: knowledge about the subject at hand (say, mathematics or history) and knowledge about how learning works. In our schools, “little emphasis—if any—is placed on training students how they should go about learning the content and what skills will promote efficient studying to support robust learning,” writes John Dunlosky, professor of psychology at Kent State University in Ohio, in an article just published in American Educator. Research has found that students vary widely in what they know about how to learn, according to a team of educational researchers from Australia writing last year in the journal Instructional Science. • I draw pictures or diagrams to help me understand this subject.