Learning Strategies

Learning strategies refer to methods that students use to learn. This ranges from techniques for improved memory to better studying or test-taking strategies. For example, the method of loci is a classic memory improvement technique; it involves making associations between facts to be remembered and particular locations. In order to remember something, you simply visualize places and the associated facts.

Some learning strategies involve changes to the design of instruction. For example, the use of questions before, during or after instruction has been shown to increase the degree of learning (see Ausubel ). Methods that attempt to increase the degree of learning that occurs have been called "mathemagenic" (Ropthkopf, 1970).

A typical study skill program is SQ3R which suggests 5 steps: (1) survey the material to be learned, (2) develop questions about the material, (3) read the material, (4) recall the key ideas, and (5) review the material.

Research on metacognition may be relevant to the study of learning strategies in so far as they are both concerned with control processes. A number of learning theories emphasize the importance of learning strategies including: double loop learning ( Argyris ), conversation theory (Pask) , and lateral thinking ( DeBono ).


H.F. O'Neil (1978). Learning strategies. New York: Academic Press.

H.F. O'Neil & C. Spielberger (1979). Cognitive and Affective Learning Strategies. New York: Academic Press.

Rothkopf, E. (1970). The concept of mathemagenic behavior. Review of Educational Research, 40, 325-336.

Schmeck, R.R. (1986). Learning Styles and Learning Strategies. NY: Plenum.

Weinstein, C.E., Goetz, E.T., & Alexander, P.A. (1986). Learning and Study Strategies. NY: Academic Press.