Learning Strategies That Actually Work

You can lead a horse to water…

but you cannot make it drink

(ancient wisdom)



Learning styles

Actually “learning styles”… are rather learning preferences.

Howard Gardner told about nine types of intelligence, which we often treat as a guidance in finding our learning style. But later he admitted that is was only a theory and we should not treat it as a statement.

Unfortunately 93% of general public and 76% educators still believe this myth! ​

Gardner’s intelligence could be called “suitableness” ​but as he said this should not translate into learning styles. ​

We prefer something, but it does not mean that we will learn better by using it. ​


How adults learn 

You can see it in the picture below!

how adults learn


Learning Strategies

OK. So let’s move to learning strategies​.


What is a Learning Strategy?​

A learning strategy is an individual’s way of organizing and using a particular set of skills in order to learn content or accomplish other tasks more effectively and efficiently​

(Schumaker & Deshler, 1992​)

How to pick your best learning strategy? ​

Researchers have found that selecting your strategy can be counterintuitive due to fluency and illusions of competence. ​

“Many students not only use relatively ineffective strategies (e.g., rereading), but believe that they are relatively effective.”​

— Robert Bjork and co-authors, Annual Review of Psychology​

Categories of learning strategies

categories learning strategies


More examples of learning strategies

Spaced Studying

Don’t try to learn all of the content the night before the GoLive. It is far better to learn sections of the material over several weeks. ​

Dual Coding

Instead of just reading text, it is better to input information through more than one modality. So, in addition to reading, also use visuals such as graphs to help understand information. Videos and listening to audio explanations of material are also extremely helpful.​

Strategic Pauses

Trainers can help participants consolidate information during presentations by pausing every 10-15 minutes and letting participants reflect upon the material or go back through their notes.​

​* Find more here.


How can you ensure learning in your team / organisation? 

Learning in a team 

Development is an ongoing process driven largely by on-the-job experiences .

How can you learn in a team? Here are some ideas:

learning in a team


Examples of corporate learning strategies

  • Give employees the option to join a mentorship program​
  • Encourage peer-to-peer learning by pairing employees ​
  • Empower experts to be instructors​
  • Use microlearning tactics to reinforce learning​
  • Develop learning journeys for employees​
  • Create knowledge wikis to spread what’s learned​
  • Encourage a learning culture through rewards and recognition
  • Always keep in mind the 70-20-10 learning framework! ​


Summing up…

Remember that:​

  1. Development is an ongoing process driven largely by actual experiences 
  2. Your attitude matters more than your gray matter!
  3. Learn in many ways / modalities
  4. Look not only at what you learn, but also how, where, and why you learn! 
  5. Develop your own strategies to help you navigate through various aspects of learning 



If you want to learn more about this topic, check the full webinar: Learning Strategies That Actually Work


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Photo by Element5 Digital on Unsplash