[ Learning Home ][ Topics
Menu ][ Study Skills ][Concepts
of Learning ]
[ Web Site Resources ][ BC3
Help Resources ][ Learning Site Map ]
Just as there are differences in personality, there are differences in
the ways that we learn and use information. Some people are quiet and
tend to be reflective in the way they process information. Others are
"take charge" kinds of people who need to put information to
immediate use and to solve problems.
Just as we have different preferences and ways of learning, we also change
and adjust our learning strategies based on our own development and on
the different learning situations in which we find ourselves. By understanding
ourselves and becoming more aware of these differences, we become more
capable of adjusting to new situations throughout our lifetime as learners.
Metacognition or "self- knowing" includes the following
aspects of understanding our "learning" selves:
- Knowing our learning "style" and how we learn best in different
- Our recognition of differences in learning tasks and our ability to
match the appropriate learning strategy to the task.
- Our ability to monitor whether we are understanding and learning in
a given situation or during the performance or a task.
- When we know that we do not understand, recognizing the problem and
identifying a different strategy that will be more appropriate to the
- Knowing our learning "style" and how we learn best in
different learning situations. By gaining
an awareness of your learning style, you can choose
the learning strategies that work best for you. For example,
You should also consider environmental
factors like time of day, temperature, level of sound and size of
groupings in which you learn best. Then try to schedule your classes
and study sessions around your preferences.
- If you are a visual/right-brained or holistic learner, you might
use mapping, drawings, and color-coding as note-taking strategies
to make information visual and to capture the main ideas or "big
- If you are an auditory learner, you can tape record lectures and
ask questions during the lecture to get more information in an auditory
- If you are "left-brained" and a detail/step-by-step
learner, you will want to use an outline or Cornell note-taking
system that puts the information in a linear format.
- Our recognition of differences in learning tasks and our ability
to match the appropriate learning strategy to the task. For example,
there are different types of reading tasks and different strategies
that are appropriate when reading these materials.
How we monitor whether we are understanding and learning in a given
situation or task. As we apply learning strategies to tasks, we
should continuously check the effectiveness of the process by
evaluating our progress in completing the task; and the outcome or
understanding by asking ourselves the following questions:
- When you read literature, you identify the theme and how the author
expands on that theme through the use of story, characters, setting,
- When you read a science textbook, you read for important details:
critical concepts, definitions of important terms, examples or applications,
- When read math word problems, you identify the problem and then
determine which processes and calculations will give you the solution
to the problem.
- When you come to a new kind of task or problem, you go through the
- Identify what kind of task it is by scanning your memory for
a similar task.
- Once you have found a match to the new task or problem, determine
the strategies you used to complete the original task.
- Apply the same strategies to the new task.
When I am unable to answer the questions above, I might ask:
- What is this about? (Can I put this information in my own words?
Explain it to someone else?)
- Does the answer (or outcome) make sense?
- How am I doing?
To check comprehension and understanding at higher levels of cognition,
you might want to refer to the site on cognitive
- What could I do to make this process more effective?
- What other strategies might work more effectively?
When we know that we do not understand, recognizing the problem
and identifying a different strategy that will be more appropriate to
the learning situation. If we are unable to explain our new learning,
or complete a practice problem applying this learning, we may need to
find another strategy that will work more effectively. For instance,
if you are unable to understand a passage after reading it, you may
need to read it again, slowly. Look up words you do not know.
document as a Word 97 file
the free Microsoft Word Viewer
Developed by Meg Keeley
Office, Bucks County Community College
With funding from the Carl D. Perkins Vocational and Applied
Technology Education Act
Designed and Produced by Chimera Studio
Copyright 1997 Bucks County Community College. All rights