Learning strategies: a synthesis and conceptual model

John A C Hattie1  & Gregory M Donoghue1 Science of Learning 1, Article number: 16013 (2016), doi:10.1038/npjscilearn.2016.13


‘The purpose of this article is to explore a model of learning that proposes that various learning strategies are powerful at certain stages in the learning cycle. The model describes three inputs and outcomes (skill, will and thrill), success criteria, three phases of learning (surface, deep and transfer) and an acquiring and consolidation phase within each of the surface and deep phases. A synthesis of 228 meta-analyses led to the identification of the most effective strategies. The results indicate that there is a subset of strategies that are effective, but this effectivity depends on the phase of the model in which they are implemented. Further, it is best not to run separate sessions on learning strategies but to embed the various strategies within the content of the subject, to be clearer about developing both surface and deep learning, and promoting their associated optimal strategies and to teach the skills of transfer of learning. The article concludes with a discussion of questions raised by the model that need further research.

But merely investigating these 400-plus strategies as if they were independent is not defensible. Thus, we begin with the development of a model of learning to provide a basis for interpreting the evidence from our meta-synthesis. The argument is that learning strategies can most effectively enhance performance when they are matched to the requirements of tasks (cf. 10 ).’

The article is summarized by me in a short PowerPoint.

For the complete article click here.

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