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Learning strategies

One of the most characteristic and extraordinary capacities of the human being is his capacity for learning, to face new challenges and to take advantage of his experience; with which to advance and acquire new knowledge and skills .

The learning strategies are multiple and have a great sense for our evolution in all areas in which we operate. In this text we will review the best learning strategies.

What are learning strategies and techniques?

Learning is deeply rooted in the field of education. It is in school where we increase our knowledge in various subjects, and since we are infants we are learning about everything around us . Thanks to curiosity, restlessness and the main engine of learning, motivation; we are in a constant context of learning.

When we learn, the desirable thing is to do it in an effective way, trying to assimilate what we have acquired , to later even be able to give it a profit, if that is the case.

Learning and education

Intelligence is also related to our ability to learn, however, something that totally depends on us and with which we can improve our acquisition of knowledge, are the learning strategies we use.

Through various processes we acquire the necessary skills so that our learning is as effective, consistent and meaningful as possible.

What are the strategies of learning?

We consciously use a set of resources, skills, activities and tactics to achieve the goals that we have set for ourselves. We think and develop a plan to achieve this , and throughout this process the learning strategies that we implement are of special relevance.

There is a common confusion between what the techniques are and what the learning strategy represents .

  • We could say that the techniques are something more concrete, in relation to a resource that the person uses to learn. For example, learning techniques are the elaboration of summaries or diagrams, the underlining of texts and the repetition of the content to be memorized.
  • The strategies  is somewhat more global, and learning techniques are included, since they are an important and necessary resource for the strategies to be as effective as possible. Therefore, it is essential to know and master the techniques. The basic foundation of learning strategies is that they serve to guide and help the person to find the most effective way to learn .

Concept and Definition of Learning according to Authors

The concept of learning, by itself, can have several meanings . Various authors have contributed ideas about what learning means and the meaning it has in our lives. These are some of the most notorious definitions:

  • Díaz Bordenave (1986) calls learning to: “the relatively permanent modification in the disposition or in the capacity of the man, happened as a result of his activity and that cannot be attributed simply to the process of growth and maturation or to causes such as disease or genetic mutations ”.
  • Beltrán (1990) defines learning as: “a more or less permanent change in behavior that occurs as a result of practice”.
  • Domjan (2007) sees learning as: “a lasting change in the mechanisms of behavior that involves specific stimuli and / or responses and that is the result of previous experience with those stimuli and responses or with similar ones”.
  • Gómez Salgado (2017) considers learning “the process of acquiring knowledge, skills, values ​​and attitudes, as a result of study, instruction, observation or experience”.

As can be seen, there are common factors regarding what learning represents . Fundamental pillars such as practice, experience, ability, etc.

In short, when we talk about learning strategies we are referring to the processes by which the learner is choosing, thinking and observing the procedures by which they are going to opt to achieve an end. In this process and elaboration to obtain knowledge is where learning strategies are used.

For learning strategies to work, the application of techniques that are previously directed towards a goal or objective is required.

Types of learning strategies

Among the different types of classifications that currently exist on learning strategies, we are going to refer to the most important and notable ones related to the field of education.

Elaboration strategies

This type of learning strategy consists of establishing a relationship between what is to be learned and what we have already assimilated and is familiar to us. Techniques are used that allow understanding thanks to the elaboration of summaries, adjusting the new content to our words, and what we have understood.

And also how that information relates to some aspect of our experience, to better consolidate it in our memory. Writing that content is always a good strategy to better assimilate what needs to be learned.

That is why it is very common to see how teachers offer resources to students to make diagrams, take notes, make summaries and offer answers to various questions. In this type of strategy that is established as a link between what is already known and the new subject to be learned, it is common to make analogies and descriptions .

Test strategy

It is one of the learning strategies most used by students. We all know well the use of repetition and rehearsal of content that we want to learn . It is about a constant repetition, either in written or spoken form, of the contents that we want to be stored in our memory.

This technique aims to remember the specific lesson or knowledge that we need to reproduce. It is practiced writing, reading to yourself or aloud, taking notes and copying the material. This repetition that is done consciously makes it easier for the knowledge to be gradually recorded in our mind .

Structuring strategy

This is a good strategy to organize the content that you want to assimilate. It’s easier to create anchors and make relationships between concepts for better understanding. It is quite effective, since when making the structure and organizing the knowledge, a work of understanding is already being done .

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Key concepts are organized as a scheme or mental maps , so that our memory has access to what it assimilates and understands through a basic structure. This type of learning strategy allows knowledge to settle and remain in our memory for longer.

Support strategy

It is an effective strategy to consolidate and enhance other learning techniques. It improves the conditions of other strategies, thanks to the fact that it provides them with such important resources as motivation, attention, concentration, etc. Improving the conditions in which learning occurs . All of them relevant factors in learning that help to better manage time.

Study strategy

Both understanding and assimilation are two fundamental keys to the acquisition of knowledge and the consolidation of learning. Strategies that are based on these two basics have a greater chance of success. It also serves to make the techniques used make more sense. This strategy forms what are considered the foundations of study and meaningful learning .

Role of metacognition in learning strategies

The concept of metacognition , proposed by Flavell, has its origin in cognitive psychology , and is closely related to the processes and strategies that we use to acquire learning.

What is metacognition for?

Thanks to metacognition we use essential resources for learning such as planning and supervision . These cognitive strategies allow us to control the understanding that we have made regarding the new knowledge. Thus being able to supervise what has been learned.

In such a way, that this strategy based on reflection and the approach of the acquired knowledge is especially significant to consolidate the new experiences. It has as we can see a double functionality, on the one hand that has to do with the acquisition of knowledge, and on the other hand that of control.

It implies that you have knowledge and awareness about the skills and processes that have been involved in learning strategies. Metacognition, therefore, serves so that these resources are evaluated more effectively by the learner , to condition and adapt them to their own needs.

Metacognitive strategies

Metacognitive strategies have been developed, according to Beltrán , in the following fields related to learning.

  • Comprehension and assimilation (metacomprehension) : the variables involved in the acquisition of knowledge are known, thus being able to readjust what has been learned.
  • Memory (metamemory) : the knowledge involved about the control of memory, and the techniques that best adapt to one’s own person.
  • Attention (meta-attention) : the attentional process does not occur automatically on its own, it is something voluntary that can be affected both by motivation, as well as by other internal factors and stimuli (distracting thoughts) and external (noises and a little environment). suitable).

There is no doubt that metacognition plays an essential role in meaningful learning. Since we have control of what we learn , being aware of how we do it, when we do it and what we do with the knowledge we acquire.

We are aware of the objectives we want to achieve, and of evaluating each experience making the appropriate adaptations and corrections.

How is metacognition used?

In learning strategies, due to metacognition, processes that are related to planning are used before executing the activity to be carried out; the reflection of the goals and objectives to be achieved, and this is how the necessary strategies and resources are put in place .

While the task is produced and the process is executed, we have the regulation that aims to control what is done with the knowledge. Finally, the evaluation is carried out, the objective of which is to verify how effective the learning strategy we have chosen has been.

Difference between learning strategies and learning skills

There are authors such as the American psychologist Robert Gagné , who make a clear distinction between skills and learning strategies. According to this author, skills make us competent to interact with our environment, through symbolic representations.

It distinguishes up to four types of intellectual abilities: concepts, rules, higher order rules and discriminations, all of them hierarchical from more to less complexity.

While cognitive strategies represent the capacities that the student makes use of, controlling and governing the processes that are involved in their learning . An expensive example is when we highlight the most relevant information to narrow down the most substantial knowledge. However, skills do have the utility of effectively executing various tasks.

The importance of education in learning processes

Skills are essential in the learning process , and essential to understand what intelligence consists of. It is a demonstration of acquired abilities, to be made available to circumstances, such as when studying. However, strategies have the function of developing and enhancing skills.

In conclusion, we can say that learning strategies encompass fundamental concepts such as techniques, skills and metacognition. In the learning strategy we use all the necessary resources to develop an approach that leads us to the purpose and objectives that we have set for ourselves.

Learning is meaningful when it is assimilated, understood and served as a support to facilitate other new learning. This is undoubtedly the best basis for learning to learn , reusing previous learning to consolidate new mental schemes. All this process is conscious and voluntary, in which also fundamental factors such as motivation, attention and concentration intervene.

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Hello Readers, I am Nikki Bella a Psychology student. I have always been concerned about human behavior and the mental processes that lead us to act and think the way we do. My collaboration as an editor in the psychology area of ​​Well Being Pole has allowed me to investigate further and expand my knowledge in the field of mental health; I have also acquired great knowledge about physical health and well-being, two fundamental bases that are directly related and are part of all mental health.

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