5.2: Learning on your own

< Back to 5.1
        Next to 5.3 >
Learning with others


In the following section, 6 learning strategies / techniques for learners to work on their own (individual work) will be presented. These include:

1. Feedback
2. Motivation
3. Self-Discipline
4. Self–Regulated Learning
5. Study Time| Study management

1. Feedback


Feedback is recognized as an important tool to develop learning. We can define it as information provided by an agent regarding aspects of one’s performance. This agent can be a trainer, a peer, one’s self experience or a book among others. It could be an alternative strategy, information to clarify ideas or encouragement.

Extrinsic Feedback – Comes from an external source, for example a trainer or supervisor;
Intrinsic Feedback – Comes from within. The learner self-regulates their work.

Feedback must answer 3 questions (Hattie & Timperley, 2007):

Feed up – where am I going? (what are the goals?),
Feed back – how am I going? (what progress is being made toward the goal?)
Feed forward – where to next? (what activities need to be undertaken to make better progress?)

Learners are only in a position to benefit fully from feedback processes when they are self-monitoring their own work. (Carless et al., 2010)

Step by Step or The Instant (and intrinsic) Feedback Formula outlined by Jon Warner is as follows:

[Source: http://blog.readytomanage.com/giving-constructive-feedback-diagram/]

Activity| 5-Step “Instant feedback formula:

[Source: University of Coimbra]

Activity 1:
Use this formula to give feedback to yourself on your learning progress or one of your peers on their behavior in your English class.

2. Motivation


“Motivation refers to reasons that underlie behaviour that are characterized by willingness and volition.” Intrinsic motivation is related with “personal enjoyment, interest, or pleasure, whereas extrinsic motivation is governed by reinforcement from the outside.

Some Steps & Tips

[Source: University of Coimbra]

Activity 2:
Set your intermediate and long-term goals in your language development. What do you want to learn in the next few months and years? How will you do it?

3. Self-Discipline


Self-Discipline is the ability to get yourself to take action regardless of your emotional state. It is the ability to take responsibility and ownership of one’s behavior and includes many actions decisions and judgements one takes daily.

Rules of Self-Discipline
This is a key issue for success in studies and in life. Regular and planned work involves some sacrifice but brings enormous rewards: It prevents fatigue, confusion and anxiety about your learning.

[Source: University of Coimbra]

Activity 3:
What, if anything, can you do to increase your self-discipline?

4. Self-Regulated Learning


This is an active and constructive process. During this process the learners set goals for their learning and then monitor, regulate, and control their progress. It has to do with the degree with which learners regulate aspects of their thinking, motivation and behavior during learning. It is an active process of setting learning goals, implementing appropriate strategies to achieve them, exerting effort to attain them and reacting to feedback in doing so.

Some steps

  • Each individual takes the initiative, how, with or without help from others,
  • to diagnose their particular learning needs,
  • to formulate their individual learning objectives,
  • to select the most appropriate training tools and resources,
  • and choose to implement the most appropriate strategies to achieve the objectives
  • and, finally, evaluate the results.
  • Some Key Ideas

    [Source: University of Coimbra]

    Activity 4:
    Referring to your learning objectives in Activity 2, what are the most appropriate techniques and strategies for you to accomplish them?

    5. Study Time | Study Management


    The ability to plan and control how you spend the hours in your day to effectively accomplish your goals. Poor time management can be related to procrastination or problems with self-control

    Study Management implies to take an active role in choosing how to use your time and implies setting goals and priorities, monitoring progress, and assuming responsibility for the outcome.

    It can be beneficial to learn to adjust leisure activities with time to learn. It is worth to define a scale of priorities, a list of objectives and tasks and to assign a time to each task.

    [Source: University of Coimbra]

    The Place of Study

    It is important that there is only one location for all of your resources. This is because one of the factors affecting the lack of attention and concentration in study is the work environment. Organize the place of study taking into account some aspects:

  • have a comfortable place to learn
  • good lighting
  • silence or ambient music without outside disturbances
  • have all the necessary materials in one place (to avoid interruptions)
  • The best study Schedule. It is important to find the hours that are most effective. For many learners studying in the morning is best because that´s when the intellectual performance is higher.

    Activity 5.1:
    Do your own study Schedule.

    [Source: University of Coimbra]

    Studying and Reading

    Reading is a traditional and useful way to learn. However, some learners confuse studying with a kind of superficial reading: Study requires some resources and techniques to learn to capture the essential:

    Dictionary – helps you to understand a text and the words, to find unknown expressions;

    Underline vs highlight – It is a way to pay more attention and better capture what is read. Who underlines reads twice.

    [Source: University of Coimbra]

    Use flash cards to take notes: it’s very important to write notes about what you are reading. It shows attention, reflection and critical thinking. By writing, you learn and memorize better.


    Some steps

  • understand the text as a whole,
  • select the most important parts
  • identify the key idea of each paragraph;
  • register the key ideas in a draft sheet,
  • write clear ideas presented without errors
  • put quotation marks around the transcribed text
  • reconstructing the text, in a personal way, respecting the author’s thought.

    Activity: 5.2: Create your own Flash Cards
    Create your own flash cards using the techniques outlined in Module 2. Memory: Techniques to Learn Vocabulary and Improve your Memory


    < Back to 5.1
            Next to 5.3 >
    Learning with others