The way your students approach learning has a large impact on how well they do at school. Thankfully, **research shows that teaching your students certain learning strategies helps them to achieve higher results**.

## What are Learning Strategies?

*Learning strategies* refer to the different things students can do to enhance their learning. There are an endless number of learning strategies. And some are subject or even task-specific. For example, using:

However, some broader learning strategies cut across subjects – and some of these have more impact than others.

## 7 Proven Learning Strategies to Teach Your Students

Here are seven learning strategies that research shows have a high impact on student learning.

- Integrating with Prior Knowledge (elaboration)
- Outlining (organising)
- Transforming (re-organising)
- Rehearsal & Practice (retrieval)
- Problem-Solving
- Help-Seeking
- Asking for Feedback

### Strategy 1: Integrating with Prior Knowledge

Students’ minds are not blank slates. Rather, they contain students’ existing understanding of the world around them. Research shows that students *encode *information better when they connect it to their existing understandings.

So, the first of the seven learning strategies is ** integrating with prior knowledge**.

It is also important to note that some of your students’ existing understandings may be accurate and some may be faulty or incomplete.

You need to teach students to ask themselves *what they think they know *about the topic at hand – before they begin to engage with it.

Then, while they engage with it teach your students to ask themselves, *how has what I learned:*

Researchers often refer to the learning strategy ** integrating with prior knowledge** as

**. Sometimes it is referred to as**

*elaboration**schema activation.*And, there are some specific forms of the strategy. For example,

**what you have already read before reading on.**

*summarising*### Learning Strategy 2: Outlining

** Outlining **involves recording

*to be learned*information in an

**way. Typically, students do this using some form of hierarchy. Such a structure helps students to separate**

*organised**main ideas*from their

*supporting details*.

Students can ** take notes** using the principles of outlining. They do this by using

*headings, subheadings*and a

*nested bulleting system*.

You can also create outlines using graphical techniques such as ** mind maps**.

### Strategy 3: Transforming

** Transforming** is the third of our seven learning strategies. As with

*outlining,*involves students in organising information. But when

**transforming***transforming*information, students

*rearrange*it in ways that highlight different

*interrelationships*.

These interrelationships can include ** comparisons, sequences, hierarchies, patterns, trends and cause-effect**.

You can transform information in written form using words such as, *but, and, next, because,* and *so*. However, transformations usually involve some form of visual structure. For example:

##### Example of Using Tables to Transform Information

##### Example of Using Concept Maps to Transform Information

### Learning Strategy 4: Rehearsal & Practice

Students need to move information from their short-term, *working memories*, to their *long-term memories*. This includes information about things (declarative knowledge) and information about procedures (procedural knowledge).

To do this, they should make use of ** rehearsal** and

*practice**.*And they form the fourth of our seven learning strategies.

** Rehearsal** can involve

*flashcards, mnemonics, chunking,*

*going over past notes, memorising lines for a play**,*and

**.**

*rereading material*** Practice** involves

*retrieving*previously learned information and applying it to the question/task at hand.

**works best when students:**

*Retrieval practice*One recent meta-analysis found that ** retrieval practice had an effect size of 0.55 larger than rehearsal**.

### Strategy 5: Problem-Solving

Teaching your students ** problem-solving skills** has a high impact on their results. So, problem-solving makes it in this list of seven potent learning strategies.

This starts with teaching your students the general *problem-solving process*. There are several different versions of this process, but they are all based on *Polya’s 4 steps*.

Then, there are specific *strategies* that you can use within this process. For example, in mathematics, students could use a combination of these strategies:

### Learning Strategy 6: Help-Seeking

This one needs little explanation. Students do better when they seek out help from other people, including:

Yet, despite being easy to understand, **many students do not do it**. Teaching them the

*importance*of seeking help leads to more help-seeking and better results.

### Strategy 7: Asking for Feedback

You should always find opportunities to give your students feedback. Giving feedback is both an evidence-based and a high-impact teaching strategy.

But, ** feedback as a learning strategy** has

*a different twist*. It is about your students asking for feedback before receiving it. Research shows that students achieve 42 percentile points better when they regularly

**.**

*ask for feedback*Furthermore, the mindset of students ** seeking feedback** matters too. Students who believe that their performance is the result of their own actions or inactions are more likely to use feedback constructively.

## How to Teach These Learning Strategies

So far, you have read about what types of learning strategies have a high impact on students’ results. You can help your students by teaching them how to use each of these strategies.

But the way you teach them matters too! Research shows that you should:

**Explain***how, when*and*why*to use each learning strategy**Demonstrate**how to use each strategy**Scaffold**students use of each learning strategy- Offer your students
**feedback**on their attempts

You can teach your students these core strategies early in the year – e.g. the last teaching period of each day for 5-10 days. And, then show them how to adapt them within different subjects, as part of your teaching throughout the year.

### Supporting Research & Footnotes

Download a list of the research and footnotes that support this article.

Shaun Killian is an experienced teacher and principal with a passion for helping students to excel. He believes that assisting teachers to adopt evidence-based education is the best way to make this happen. Shaun is committed to bringing you practical advice based on solid research.

Sheona Carter says

Thanks Shaun. With what age groups do you recommend using these strategies? I am in a Prep – year 12 school and would like to share with staff.

Kind regards

Sheona Carter

Shaun Killian (MEd, MLead) says

Hi Sheona

Before reading the research, I would have said Year 4 and up. But the research showed the strategies were effective from Years 1-12. And, students use of strategies (after being taught) was higher in lower primary/elementary.

I’m not an early childhood teacher, but I imagine that in the early years some tailoring would be necessary. For example:

activating prior knowledge(maybe with a more child friendly language) as something to do before you readoutliningusing aclass mind mapto progressively summarise what you have been learning about (e.g. theme, science, humanities)reorganiseinformation students have learnedRehearsingletter-sound relationships, and then asking someone to helptest themfeedbackon their draft writing, or even on their ideas for writingBut, for many of the strategies in their more formal/traditional form, I would still say Year 4 and up.

Cheers

Shaun

James Farrell says

Hi Shaun,

Love reading all of your posts. Thanks for providing such powerful and well researched information. I look forward to many more updates from you.

Regards,

Seamus Farrell

Shaun Killian (MEd, MLead) says

My pleasure. I am glad you find it useful.