Introducing Module 1: Underlying theories for successful learning

Let's get started!

"Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can." - Ashe

Welcome to the first Module, where we look at what sits behind a successful learning experience.

In other words:

  • How do we (our brains) learn?
  • How does our self-belief (self efficacy) impact on our ability to learn?
  • What does Motivation have to do with it (and how can we stay motivated)?
  • What is "Active Learning" and how is it different?
  • What is "Meta-cognition" (meta-what?) - and what are the steps involved in a successful learning experience?

... and finally, pulling all this together into the Self-Regulated Learning framework.

To be successful here, and in your studies in general, it's best to complete all the activities (I’ll explain why shortly) as well as complete the reflection exercises in a serious frame of mind. Whilst it is easier to learn when we are enjoying ourselves, treating learning activities and opportunities as a joke is not quite the same thing...


I recommend getting a journal/ workbook or perhaps open a Word document on your computer – where ever you would like to record your thoughts, ideas and reflections as we work through the program. If writing or typing isn't your preference, you might prefer to make voice recordings of your thoughts and ideas (on your phone, on your computer or on an app). Or perhaps a combination of them all. This is a great time to experiment with different techniques to discover what works best for you.

For example, a good approach to note-taking for learning might involve:

  1. Start with making handwritten notes, doodles, diagrams, thought maps and ideas (largest part of the brain engaged - visual and activity based);
  2. Read your notes out loud, or (better yet) record a summary and a reflection of your notes and ideas (audio);
  3. Finally, typing a summary of your notes and recorded reflections - and really digging in deep to appreciate what you are learning.

This way, you are engaging both your brain and your body in the learning process!

And don't discount reading, thinking about or teaching the information out loud. Historically (and even now) most learning was done through the sharing of story and teachings orally. Perhaps that is why we still listen to teachers and lecturers rather than just read about it in a book? We can also learn from ourselves this way and we are more likely to spot discrepancies and errors in our work when we hear/ read it our loud.


Time to get started on your first topic!