How We Learn/Approaches to Learning

How We Learn

Approaches to Learning

A word about the 'approaches to learning', these are sometimes confused with learning styles. An approach is often determined by external factors such as overload, curriculum design, assessment methods etc and may be categorised in one of three ways; surface, deep and strategic (Marton et al 1997).

One of the key reasons why we would seek to promote the deep approach to learning is that in this realm the learners genuinely engage with the materials, information and learning opportunities, seeing it as relevant to themselves and their experiences (of the moment and going forward).

Deep Approach Surface Approach
Actively seek to understand the material Try to learn in order to repeat what they have learned
Interact vigorously with the content Make use of rote learning
Make use of evidence, inquiry and evaluation Take a narrow view, concentrate on detail
Motivated by interest Fail to distinguish principles from examples
Relate new ideas to previous knowledge Tend to stick closely to the course requirements
Relate concepts to everyday experience Are motivated by fear of failure
Tend to read and study beyond the course requirements

Active Learning Template

Lecturer’s Name:
School / Unit:
Number of students in the session:
Stage / Year:
Present Method:

New Method to Encourage Active Learning:


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