Areas of Expertise

Learning Strategy

What Are Learning Strategies?

A learning strategy is essentially the actions and intellectual processes an individual relies upon when attempting to complete a task. Learning strategies are different tactics that are utilized throughout the learning process. Although individuals often absorb information and obtain skills differently, there are specific techniques that can be used to make learning easier, quicker and more effective.

Learning strategies can be broken down into three major categories: active, cooperative and visual. Each of these categories emphasizes different strategies, techniques, and methodologies when it comes to learning. This article will help define learning strategies, and how you can implement them in your organization.

Active Learning Strategies

This particular instructional approach encourages students to be as actively engaged in the material as possible. Critical thinking activities, different types of group discussions, individual reflections, and other collaborative tasks are all a way of improving learning skills with active learning. These active learning strategies are proven advantageous to both instructors and students especially because of the increased one-on-one interactions. In a recent study, 12% more students taught with traditional methods failed the same class compared to when taught with active learning strategies. The following 5 strategies are some of the best active learning strategies that help challenge passive learning in any environment. 

Play Devil’s Advocate

This is essentially encouraging group members to engage in a forced debate. After a brainstorming session giving participants time to play devil’s advocate instigates constructive disagreement that pushes people to defend their ideas and positions thereby further developing them.

Gamification

This specific active learning strategy is a great way to differentiate your business’ educational process by applying game-based thinking. Learners get a different sense of depth while achieving learning objectives with a bit of competition and creativity mixed in. One of the best ways to boost motivation in the workplace is with rewards and recognition. There are many different tools and technologies available that can help gamify almost any learning experience.

Think-Pair-Share

This popular activity asks instructors to present a question to an entire team, give a 2-minute thinking period and then ask individuals to turn and discuss with someone next to them. After discussing, individuals can then share with the entire group. This process is quick and can be easily applied to many different situations. It engages everyone, allowing everyone a chance to share in a low-risk setting.

Cooperative Learning Strategies

Cooperative Learning is beneficial to students. Students have a responsibility to the group and to themselves encouraging positive student interactions. Students also gain practice using social and collaborative skills. At the end of each cooperative learning activity, conduct discussions with students. You might ask students to name one thing they learned, how they felt working in a group, or how they might improve their group work.

Snowballing

Breakout exercises are perfect for getting creative juices flowing after a long presentation or training session. Post flip chart pages with different questions or prompts around the office. Divide learners into paired teams or small groups with a colored marker. When a supervisor or facilitator calls “snowball” each group will move to the next station, read what the previous team wrote, and then add their own perspectives, suggestions and new ideas. The snowballing process continues until each group has rotated to all pages. Then follows a group debriefing session to summarize, suggest implications, and consider potential applications.

Jigsaw Method

Start by placing team members into “home groups” and “expert groups” which are then each assigned a different topic or idea. Students work on expanding and researching their given topics with others in their expert group and then return to their original home group to teach about their topic. Jigsaw is one of the best cooperative learning strategies because all individual learners bring their pieces back to collaborate and complete the lesson. It engages people with one another at random and holds them accountable for their learning. Being able to teach others is one of the best ways to solidify your own understanding, additionally learning from peers can often be more comfortable and enjoyable. 

Numbered Heads Go Together

Students are placed into groups and given a number in their group. Students are asked a question and discuss it with their group members. When time is up, the teacher calls a number and all students with that number stand up and take turns sharing what they discussed in their groups. The students are able to build on and connect similar ideas among the groups and broaden the conversation. 

This strategy is useful because it allows students to discuss in small groups before going into a whole class discussion. Additionally, it required all students to have to contribute and listen to the conversation, so they have something to share if their number gets called. It helps to get each student engaged and involved in their learning.            

Visual Learning Strategies

Visual learners make up 65% of the population, so a substantial amount of employees need this sort of support to succeed at learning new things in the workplace. If you use a lot of verbal directions without any visual cues, visual learners are more likely to tune out and get lost. The following visual learning strategies are just some of the ways to keep visual learners from falling behind. 

Encourage Visual Aides

Keep posters of group goals, plans, and procedures around the office. Add color-coded to-do lists in any agendas, color code flow charts, and create handouts for reference.

Briefly pause and allow time for people to take detailed notes when making presentations or during training.

Show Not Tell

With visual learners, it’s important to implement a substantial amount of hands-on or visual supplements when teaching. A lot of verbal directions, no matter how detailed, simply will not register to the same extent as being shown a new procedure or walked through a corrective process.

Enhance your presentations

Incorporate video and still images to step up your presentations. As a general rule, presentations land well across the board the more interactive they are and the less they rely upon block text. That being said, visual learners also won’t thrive if all presentations are strictly auditory. Strategically working in information and ideas displayed with graphs, videos and still images are the best ways to keep people engaged.

Even with this information, you may not know exactly which strategies to get started with or which will be the most successful to implement in your unique situation. The following section will help you understand more about what a learning strategist is and how they can help your business. 

What is a Learning Strategist?

A learning strategist’s main job is to implement strategies for improving learning and performance. They find resources, develop successful methodologies and determine what changes can be made to improve the way your business approaches learning. Learning Strategy Consultants here at SLP excel at improving learning strategies by conducting impact-measuring evaluations, performing organizational needs analyses, formulating learning strategies to support digital transformations and identifying and tracking key performance metrics.

Interested in partnering with us and learning more about Learning Strategy? Let’s connect!

Activities That Our Learning Strategists Typically Perform

Current State

  • Conducting an impact-measuring evaluation for current curriculum.
  • Administering a cross-organization needs analysis.
  • Optimizing existing performance improvement programs and curriculum.

Future State

  • Providing a learning strategy on future state curriculum.
  • Supplying a learning strategy to support digital transformation.
  • Identifying, tracking, and measuring key performance indicators.