Promoting learning – the invisible foundation skill

Accessed from 29/1/16
Accessed from 29/1/16

The foundation skill Learning is talked about less than more commonly recognised foundation skills such as reading or numeracy. Perhaps it’s because we assume that if adult learners are going through the motions of the reading or numeracy tasks and activities – not only is the learner developing the reading or numeracy skill but also the adult learner is developing their learning capacity. But are the two skills developing simultaneously?

The capacity to learn:

  • involves reflecting on, and identify the learning steps and strategies that made the difference between going on and achieving the unexpected, or giving up.
  • underpins success or progress with all foundation skill development.

We know that learning is:

  • a personal and invisible process – we can’t see it happening but the learner can be aware of learning something.
  • a different process for individuals – even with the same learning context/tools
  • impacted by two factors
What the adult learner brings:

  • existing skills and knowledge
  • personal identity and beliefs
  • desire and motivation to learn
  • desire and capacity to engage with others
  • personal learning preference
  • commitment/confidence to ‘push on’
What the learning context offers:

  • explanation/rationale about how?
  • resources to get started
  • resources to get support
  • strategies to get connected
  • practice opportunities
  • feedback opportunities

 Promoting the capacity to learn involves:

Opportunities to learn any time, any day

Accessed from  27/1/16
Accessed from 27/1/16

“Remember that our role goes beyond building courses and other experiences, but is about helping people learn. Learning happens all day, every day, in ways that are as often as not accidental. In 2016 I resolve to find ways of throwing more rocks in the learner’s path, to cause serendipity wherever I can.

Jane Bozarth (Learning Solutions Magazine, 5 January), in Thinking bigger, thinking broader, thinking beyond compliance

People expect to be able to learn whenever and wherever they want to. Online resources and tasks allow learning to happen at home, at work, while travelling, and face to face. Online resources promote learner control, they can watch a video, listen to an explanation, or do a quiz as often as they need to.

Opportunities to ‘see’ all that is involved

Accessed from 27/1/16
Accessed from 27/1/16

Many tasks involving core skill application require steps and strategies. Aim to step back and consider all the sub-skills involved:

  • what do you need to think about, do, or access?
  • what distinguishes this task or step from others that are similar?

What enables yo to do this (on the right) or this (below)?

Accessed from 27/1/16
Accessed from 27/1/16

Whatever ‘it’ is make ‘it’ clear, particularly for:

  •  Novice performer,  Advanced beginner or Capable performer (Core Skills for Work CSfW)
  • Levels 1, 2 or 3 (Australian Core Skills Framework ACSF).

Opportunities to access resources, engage with others, and reflect

Accessed from 29/1/16
Accessed from 29/1/16
Resources to

  • explain, demonstrate, reveal
  • provide information, context, summary of purpose or what to notice
  • (written, visual, or audio)
Resources with


models, worked through applications

Resources to

  • to practice
  • offer feedback
  • respond to  questions
Accessed from 27/1/16
Accessed from 27/1/16

Discussion is a valuable strategy to promote learning, understanding of concepts and contexts, use of language, and practicing communication skills. Look for ways to enable learners to continue to connect and discuss beyond the face-to-face session.

We rarely grow alone. In fact, some psychologists have made a compelling case that we only grow in connection with others. However, we don’t need to learn with others in formal training or development programs: we can architect our own opportunities to gain insight, knowledge, and skills that move us on an upward trajectory. We can have more control over our learning (at work) if we make building high-quality connections a priority.

Jane E Dutton and Emily Heaphy (Forbes, 12 January) wrote in We learn more when we learn together …

Accessed from 2/2/16
Accessed from 2/2/16

Promote an environment of reflection. Look for a variety of ways and tools to gather feedback

  • For the learners: What else could have helped you? What can you do now that you couldn’t do before? What strategies were helpful or hindrances to your learning?
  • For the Trainer: How effective was that planned learning strategy? What did I notice? Were the performance behaviours better than expected or not?

“But in a world of accelerated change, ………………. An individual must have learning agility – the ability to learn, adapt, and apply in quick cycles.”

Heather McGowern (LinkedIn, 3 January) in Education is not the answer

Opportunities to build skills and knowledge about the foundation skill Learning (for Trainers)

Learning is a complex process. There is much that could be said. If you are seeking more information about Learning, we offer specific strategies within the following webinars:

  • (1 March, 2016) – Teaching tips for TAE trainers delivering and assessing the TAELLN411
  • (8 March) Workshops 2 – Teaching tips for trainers with young adult learners (Gen Y/ Z)
  • (15 March, 2016) – Teaching tips for trainers with ESL learners
  • Webinar 2 Learning from the 6 webinar series

Or access the resources on this site (Instruction Strategies 2 (includes elearning tools/strategies), and Instruction Strategies 3 and 4


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