Learning how to learn
Learning how to learn

Start this free course now. Just create an account and sign in. Enrol and complete the course for a free statement of participation or digital badge if available.

3.2 A summary of the phases and activities of learning how to learn

We can represent the process of learning how to learn in a diagram with four phases (Figure 1).

This image shows a mapping diagram, which consists of four boxes connected to each other in a rectangular formation. The top box represents 'Preparing'. This links to a box on the right, which represents 'Exploring'. This in turn links to a box at the bottom, which represents 'Implemating'. The 'Implemating' box links to the final box, placed on the left of the diagram, which represents 'Reviewing'. The 'Reviewing' box links back to the first box, which represents 'Preparing'.
Figure 1: The four main phases of learning how to learn

Preparing for a section of study and an accompanying assignment is an essential part of the process. In this phase, you are encouraged to pause and think ahead about how and when you will tackle both studying the material and the assessment task itself.

Exploring is the phase when most of your studying is done, by both working through the course and preparing for the assignment.

Implementing covers the actual doing of your assignment - producing the assignment in a form that can be sent to your tutor.

Reviewing is the phase when your work is returned. Lessons from this phase may well help you in the next circuit as you prepare for another section of study and the next assignment.

So what should you actually do in each of these phases? Each can be divided into two activities (Figure 2), and we will look at them in turn in the following sections.

Figure 1, with added detail. Each initial box is now part of a wider rectangle containing two more elements placed within initial box. Top: two boxes placed with ‘Preparing’. The first is ‘Analysing the task’, followed by Making a plan‘’. Right: two boxes placed with ‘Exploring’. Following ‘Making a plan’, the first represents ‘Studying the materials’. This is followed by a box representing ‘Monitoring your progress’. Bottom: two boxes are placed with ‘Implementing’. Linking from ‘Monitoring your progress’, the first box represents ‘Monitoring your performance’. This is followed by a box representing ‘Making a self-assessment’. Left: two boxes are placed with ‘Reviewing’. The first links from ‘Making a self-assessment’ and represents ‘Learning from feedback’. The second represents ‘Reviewing the process’. This final box links back to the first box, ‘Analysing the task’.
Figure 2: The eight activities of learning how to learn

Take your learning further

Making the decision to study can be a big step, which is why you'll want a trusted University. The Open University has 50 years’ experience delivering flexible learning and 170,000 students are studying with us right now. Take a look at all Open University courses.

If you are new to University-level study, we offer two introductory routes to our qualifications. You could either choose to start with an Access module, or a module which allows you to count your previous learning towards an Open University qualification. Read our guide on Where to take your learning next for more information.

Not ready for formal University study? Then browse over 1000 free courses on OpenLearn and sign up to our newsletter to hear about new free courses as they are released.

Every year, thousands of students decide to study with The Open University. With over 120 qualifications, we’ve got the right course for you.

Request an Open University prospectus371