3 The Learning Cycle

Understanding how you learn can help make learning and studying easier. Skills like planning your learning and thinking about your learning strategies can help you evaluate whether your learning is progressing and if it is effective.  Understanding the learning process is connected to success.

The Learning Cycle[1]

Understanding how you learn may be achieved by planning, monitoring, and evaluating your learning.

Planning, Monitoring, Evaluation
The Learning Cycle. Image Credit: Christina Page

Planning involves 3 key tasks: deciding what you need to learn, deciding how you’re going to learn it, and deciding when you’re going to study.

Monitoring is when you ask yourself “how well am I learning?”. In monitoring, you’re constantly tracking and thinking about what you’ve learned, what you don’t know yet, and whether your study strategies are helping you to learn effectively.

Evaluation involves reflecting on how well you met your learning objectives after completing and receiving feedback on an assignment or quiz.

Remember: if you have questions about your learning, assignment or quizzes, contact your instructor and/or your Student Advisor.

Key Questions to Improve Your Learning[2]

At each stage of the learning  cycle, there are key questions you should ask yourself. The chart below lists the key questions for each stage of the learning cycle, and other questions you’ll want to think about.

Key question Other questions to ask yourself
  • What do I need to learn? (Planning)
  • What are the learning objectives?
  • What do I already know about this topic?
  • What are the concepts I need to understand?
  • How do I separate important information from the details?
  • What questions do I already have about this topic?
  • How am I going to learn the material? (Planning)
  • How can I combine textbook reading with class notes?
  • What active learning strategies will support my learning?
  • Will I study alone or with a study group?
  • What charts or visuals will help me understand this material?
  • What memory strategies can I use to remember key words and concepts?
  • How can I connect with my instructor if I have questions?
  • How am I doing at learning this material? (Monitoring)
  • What concepts do I understand well?
  • What concepts are still confusing for me?
  • What questions should I ask for clarification?
  • Are there study groups available for me to join?
  • Should I start a study group?
  • Can I explain the material to someone else without referring to notes?
  • Can I create and answer self-testing questions about these concepts?
  • Am I using the learning supports available to me (e.g.,  instructor office hours, tutors, library, Writing Centre, English as Additional Language supports)?
  • Did I learn the material effectively? (Evaluation)
  • How well did I meet the learning objectives for this unit?
  • What in my test preparation worked well?
  • What in my test preparation did not go well?  What do I want to change?
  • Did I actively and effectively use the strategies in the quiz and test taking section of this book?
  • How will what I have learned help me in my next courses?

Try it!



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