As with any area of expertise, the field of education is riddled with professional jargon, content-specific terms, and loads of acronyms. Sometimes it may feel as if educators are speaking in a secret code. I’m here today to hopefully reveal the mystery behind one such term...Strategic Learning.
What may seem self-explanatory in two simplistic words - strategic learning - actually becomes a bit more complicated and encompasses two schools of thought. One thought focuses on an individual or educational viewpoint and the other focuses on a group or organizational viewpoint. For our purposes, we want to take a look at what it means to be a strategic learner from the individual or educational viewpoint.
The goal of teaching students to be strategic learners is to ultimately help them become independent learners. To accomplish this goal, students need to understand how they learn in order to reach their full learning potential. This deep understanding of how one learns is a personal insight or self-awareness that many children struggle to possess, but it is not an impossible skill to learn.
So how do students become strategic learners? Ideally strategic learners employ a combination of both surface knowledge and deep understanding to reach their educational goals. As you might imagine, many factors contribute to how well being “strategic” works, including some factors that may feel out of a student’s control. Those factors can include:
When these variables are taken into consideration and a student can still plan, prioritize and use strategies like ‘cues and clues,’ we then have strategic learning. Perhaps a more accurate term would be what researcher John Biggs refers to as “achieving learning,” in which students have actually achieved learning because they have utilized strategic learning techniques to achieve positive academic outcomes.
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