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Learning, thinking and doing

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How do we learn? Understanding how is the key to learning more effectively. This free course, Learning, thinking and doing, looks at the three main categories of theories: the acquisitive, constructivist and experiential models of learning. There is no right way to learn but developing an active approach will ensure that you are open to new ideas.

After studying this course, you should be able to:

  • assess personal learning styles and capabilities, using a learning file in which to record progress
  • describe the main definitions of learning as a process, and the role played by memorising, understanding and doing
  • explain the three main categories of theories about learning, namely the acquisitive, constructivist and experiential models of learning
  • discuss the main conceptions of managing as an activity, and how systems thinking and practice benefit from learning by experience.

By: The Open University

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Learning, thinking and doing


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This course has been written because it is all too easy not to take an active approach to learning, thinking and doing, merely reading information but not actively engaging with it. The course itself is a mixture of the theoretical and the practical, the academic and the vocational, and the readings that follow are designed to stimulate an active approach to learning, thinking and doing. There is no right way of engaging with the material covered in this course – you have your own reasons for studying it and your own favoured styles of working.

This course deals with the strategies for coping with the demands of learning, but does not cover the tactics required for successful learning. It does not cover specific study skills such as note taking, effective writing or preparing for assignments. If you believe that you need to learn, or brush up on, these types of skills then you are strongly advised to get a copy of The Sciences Good Study Guide by Northedge, Thomas, Lane and Peasgood, 1997, Open University.

This OpenLearn course provides a sample of level 1 study in Engineering [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)]

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