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In order to understand how best to facilitate student learning, we might usefully differentiate what it is they need to learn:

  • Skills

  • Knowledge

  • Understanding

  • Attitudes & behaviours





It is not sufficient merely to demonstrate a skill and expect students to imitate that skill accurately.  In order to properly facilitate the development of students' skills, they need above all the opportunity to PRACTICE.  This should be accompanied by FEEDBACK - from the tutor/trainer (and maybe also from peers) - which refers to specific, identified and understandable CRITERIA. 


Ideally, such practice needs to be carried out in a REAL ENVIRONMENT - otherwise it will be necessary to find a (physically and psychologically) safe environment - or may necessitate setting up a SIMULATION.




In recent years there has been an increasing emphasis not merely on improving the quality of subject-specific teaching but on helping students to become better at learning.  This has encouraged a focus on "Learning to Learn" and developing students' capacity to learn.


Click here for Brainboxx Study Skills pages.

Click here for Campaign for Learning "Learning to Learn" pages.





To develop depth of understanding, students should be encouraged to:

  • DISCUSS - with tutor, peers and other practitioners;


  • REFLECT and relate to their own experience

  • APPLY new understanding to a real (rather than merely theoretical) situation.




In order to affect the way in which students carry out new skills and apply new understanding, it is essential to create an environment in which the new behaviours are modelled and exhibited - and form an essential part of the learning environment.


Examples: Health & Safety: Inclusive practice: Reflective practice: Customer focus.



Planning and Enabling Learning

in the Lifelong Learning Sector


Ann Gravells & Susan Simpson


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