Learning strategies are a form of procedural knowledge (know-how) that can be used to improve learning performance. Research has shown that teaching people how to use effective learning strategies makes them better learners. The results of the studies vary somewhat in terms of which strategies — or combinations of strategies — produce the best results. This variance is unsurprising because successful learning depends on the context and the goals being pursued. Certain strategies are superior to others for achieving specific outcomes. But researchers have found that strategy selection can be counterintuitive due to fluency and illusions of competence .
Many students not only use relatively ineffective strategies (e.g., rereading), but believe that they are relatively effective.
— and co-authors, Annual Review of Psychology
Learning strategies can be classified into several categories — cognitive, metacognitive, management, and motivational.
- Cognitive strategies aim to acquire and deepen the understanding of the content within the domain studied, as well as improve retrieval and transfer of knowledge. These include reading, highlighting, note-taking, summarizing, paraphrasing, elaboration, organization, generation, retrieval practice, and self-testing, etc.
- Metacognitive strategies are based on the individual’s understanding of learning and cognition. They rely on his or her ability to assess the learning process to identify strengths and weaknesses. Metacognition involves planning learning activities, monitoring the process during learning, and evaluating results.
- Management strategies aim to create optimal learning conditions, particularly by the learner’s ability to find and evaluate information.
trigger the drive to engage in learning. There are several relevant aspects, including:
- The mindset of the learner
- His or her beliefs about the value of the learning activity
- The source of motivation (intrinsic or extrinsic)
One review discovered more than 400 learning strategies, although many were renamed or slightly modified versions of others. Despite the overlap, there are still a large number of learning strategies available to individuals hoping to facilitate learning and improve performance. Performance improvements are most likely to be achieved when the strategies are well matched to the learning tasks and objectives.