Learning to Learn

ECTS Value: 3 ECTS


Overall Objectives and Outcomes

The current trend towards student-centred teaching and learning is bringing about a shift from promoting effective teaching towards developing an understanding of how students learn. Consequently, the primary teacher needs to reflect that to be a truly effective teacher one needs to understand how the students learn. Prevalent literature calls for more emphasis on the students’ learning processes through increased metacognition and critical reflection. This module will start with the assumption that learning is an intricate and complex process involving different mental processes. It will present the scenario that learning can no longer be viewed as a process which involves solely cognition (thinking). When students are going through a process of thinking during learning, they are also feeling and doing. Learning is part of our being and if one wants to learn, one must understand how one learns and then make sense of it so as to make one’s mental mechanisms work most efficiently for him/her.

By the end of this programme, participants should be able to:


a. Focus on learning processes when planning;
b. Acquire a wide range of strategies for learning;
c. Review and refine lesson planning;
d. Provide appropriate feedback to learners based on an understanding of the learning process.


a. Demonstrate advanced knowledge of how children learn;
b. Hold a rich conception of learning;
c. Understand learner variability;
d. Distinguish between thinking (cognitive factors), feeling (affective factors) and doing (conative factors) and how each of these directly impact on learning;
e. Understand the concepts learning to learn, metacognition and meta learning, recognise different cultural concepts and the importance and meaning of culture in everyday life.


a. Assess one’s own learning;
b. Develop strategies to engage different learners;
c. Recognise learners’ different learning preferences;
d. Plan creatively with an understanding of how children learn.


Assessment Methods

This programme adopts continuous and summative methods of assessment including assignments, online tasks, reflective journals, projects and video presentations. For further details, kindly refer to the Teaching, Learning and Assessment Policy and Procedures.

Suggested Readings

Core Reading List

1. Beattie IV, Collins, B. & Mcinnes, B. (1997) Deep and surface learning: a simple or simplistic dichotomy? Accounting Education, 6 (1) pp. 1-12.

2. Biggs, J. (1985) The Role of Metacognition in Enhancing Learning Skills. Proceedings of the Annual Conference of the Australian Association for Research in Higher Education. Hobart: AARHE

3. Biggs, J. (1985) The Role of Metalearning in Study Process. British Journal of Educational Psychology 55 pp. 185-212

4. Booth, C. (2011) Reflective Teaching Effective Learning: Instructional Literacy for Library Educators. Chicago, IL: American Library Association.

5. Brockbank, A. & McGill, I. (2011) Facilitation and the affective domain. In M. Pedler (ed) Action Learning in Practice (4th Edition) Surrey: Gower Publishing pp. 261-272.

6. Brophy, J.E. (2010) (3rd Edition) Motivating Students to Learn. New York, NY: Routledge.

7. Bruer, J.T. (1997) Education and the Brain: A Bridge Too Far. Educational Researcher 26 (8) pp .4-16.

8. Curry, L. (1990) A critique of the research on learning styles. Educational Leadership, 48 (2) pp.50-56.

9. Debello, T.C. (1990) Comparison of Eleven Major Learning Styles Models: variables, appropriate populations, validity of instrumentation and the research behind them. Journal of Reading, Writing and Learning Disabilities (6) pp. 203-222

10. Dweck, C.S. (2017) Mindset – Updated Edition – How You Can Fulfil Your Potential. London: Robinson.

11. Forsten, C., Goodman, G. & Grant, J. (2006) The more ways you TEACH the more students you REACH: 86 strategies for differentiating instruction. Peterborough, NH: Crystal Springs Books.

12. Hartman, H.J. (2013) (ed) Metacognition in Learning and Instruction: Theory, Research and Practice. Springer Science.

13. Hattie, J. (2012) Visible Learning for Teachers. Maximizing impact on learning. Oxon: Routledge.

14. Jarvis, P. (2006) (ed) The Theory and Practice of Teaching (2nd Edition). Oxon: Routledge.

15. Jarvis, P. (2006) Towards a Comprehensive Theory of Human Learning, Lifelong Learning and the Learning Society. London: Routledge.

16. Lafferty, H. & Burley, K. (2009) Do Learning Styles Exist? Available online

17. Larkin, S. (2010) Metacognition in Young Children. Oxon: Routledge.

18. Novak, J.D. (1993) How do we learn our lesson? Taking students through the process. The Science Teacher 60 (3) pp. 51-55.

19. Twomey Fosnot, C. (2005) Constructivism: Theory, Perspectives and Practice. (2nd Edition) New York, NY: Teachers College Press.

20. Watkins, C. (2001) Learning about learning enhances performance. Research Matters (13) Spring pp. 1-9.

21. Weimer, M. (2002) Learner-centred teaching: Five key changes to practice. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Supplementary Reading List

1. Bernholt, S., Neumann, K., Nentwig, P. (eds) (2012) Making It Tangible. Learning Outcomes in Science Education. Münster, Germany: Waxmann Verlags GmbH.

2. Biggs, J. (1987) Student Approaches to Learning and Studying. Hawthorn, Victoria, Australia: Australian Council for Educational Research.

3. Biggs, J. & Tang, C. (2011) Teaching for Quality Learning at University (4th Edition). Berkshire, UK: Open University Press.

4. Brockbank, A. & McGill, I. (2007) Facilitating Reflective Learning in Higher Education (2nd Edition). Berkshire: Open University Press.

5. Brookefield, S.D. (2017) Becoming a critically reflective teacher. (2nd edition). San Francisco, CA:Jossey-Bass.

6. Bruer, J.T. (1993) Schools for Thought. A Science of Learning in the Classroom. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

7. Bruer, J.T. (1999) The Myth of the First Three Years. A New Understanding of Early Brain Development and Lifelong Learning. New York, NY: The Free Press.

8. Dawkins, B.U., Kottkamp, R.B., Johnston, C.A. (2010) Intentional Teaching: The Let Me Learn® classroom in action. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.

9. Dweck, C.S. & Masters, A. (2008) Self-Theories Motivate Self-Regulated Learning. In D.H. Schunk & B.J. Zimmerman (eds) Motivation and Self-Regulated Learning: Theory Research and Applications (pp, 31-51) New York, NY: Erlbaum.

10. Hattie, J. (2003). Teachers make a difference: What is the research Evidence? Paper presented at the Australian Council for Educational Research Annual Conference on Building Teacher Quality, Melbourne.

11. Hattie, J. & Anderman, E.M. (2013) International Guide to Student Achievement. New York, NY: Routledge.

12. Hermida, J. (2015) Facilitating Deep Learning. Pathways to Success for University and College Teachers. Oakville,ON: Apple Academic Press.

13. Johnston, C.A. (1998) Let Me Learn. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.

14. Johnston, C.A. (2010) Finding your way: Navigating life by understanding your learning self. Glassboro, NJ: Let Me Learn, Inc.

15. Kyrö, P., Seikkula-Leino, J. & Mylläri, J. (2011) Meta processes of entrepreneurial and enterprising learner: the dialogue between cognitive, conative and affective constructs. In O.J. Borch, A. Fayolle, P. Kyrö & E. Ljunggren Entrepreneurship Research in Europe: Evolving Concepts and Processes. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar Publishing pp. 56-84.

16. Pritchard, A. (2013) (3rd Edition) Ways of Learning: Learning Theories and Learning Styles in the Classroom. Oxon: Routledge.

17. Schön, D.A. (1983) The Reflective Practitioner: How Professionals Think in Action. Hants: Basic Books.

18. Sharp, J.G., Bowker, R., Byrne, J. (2008) The Trouble with VAK. Educational Futures Vol. 1 (1) pp.89-97.

19. Sharp, J.G., Bowker, R., Byrne, J. (2008) VAK or VAK-uous? Towards the trivialisation of learning and the death of scholarship. Research Papers in Education Vol. 23 93) pp. 293-314.

20. Stahl, S.A. (1999) Different Strokes for Different Folks? A Critique of Learning Styles. American Educator pp. 1-5.

21. Vanhear, J. (2015). Chapter 24: Vee Heuristics, Concept Mapping And Learning Patterns: Merging Metacognitive Tools and Learning Processes to Improve Facilitation of Learning with Primary Children in Calleja, C. & Johnston, C.A. (Eds.)(2015) A Learning Paradigm Informed by the Learning Self: A Compendium of Applied Research in the Let Me Learn Process. pp. 491- 506. Horizon and Forum on Learning Publication. Malta.

22. Vanhear, J. (2013) The use of Concept Mapping and Vee Heuristics in Higher Education to promote critical reflection and meaningful learning. Journal for Educators, Teachers and Trainers (JETT).

23. Vanhear, J. & Pace, P. (2008) Integrating knowledge, feelings and action: using Vee heuristics and concept mapping in education for sustainable development. Journal of Teacher Education for Sustainability. Vol 10-2008 (pp.42-55)

24. Vanhear, J. & Reid, A. (2014) Concept Mapping and Universal Design for Learning: Addressing Learner Variability. Paper presented at the Sixth International Concept Mapping Conference in Brazil.

Skip to content