Seven dimensions of learning
Research into learning sought to capture the essence and meaning of Learning Power and identified seven critical dimensions. These dimensions can be viewed more like attitudes or dispositions than capabilities or skills.
1. Changing and Learning
Characterised by a sense of oneself as someone who uses what they learn to change the way they go about their daily life over time; understanding that learning is itself learned. The opposite is being ‘stuck in a rut’, static, with no apparent recognition of new knowledge; tending to believe that Learning Power is fixed and that any difficulties that confront them only serve to reveal their limitations.
2. Critical Curiosity
Characterised by wanting to get to the cause or truth of the matter, digging below the surface and being less accepting of received wisdom until it is evidenced; the opposite is being passively accepting, believing received wisdom is ‘the truth’.
3. Meaning Making
Involves making connections between past information and/or experience and new knowledge; the opposite is merely to accumulate data or information without regard to its application.
Characterised by risk-taking, playfulness, thinking outside the box, regularly
using imagination and intuition; being receptive to hunches and inklings that
bubble randomly into their minds; the opposite is being bound by the rules.
5. Learning Relationships
Enjoying learning not only with and from others but also alone, balancing interactive and solitary learning, and maintaining their independent judgement; the opposite is being either ‘isolated’ or ‘over-dependent’.
6. Strategic Awareness
Being aware of one’s thoughts, feelings and actions as a learner and being able to use that awareness to plan and manage the process of learning as well as create personal direction; the opposite is being ‘robotic’ and entrenched. This dimension may sometimes be referred to as metacognition.
Having an orientation towards perseverance in the development of one’s own Learning Power. Relish challenge, as well as being robust when the going gets tough; the opposite is fragility and dependence.
The idea of Learning Power has been a feature of education for more than 20 years and there are many ways of deconstructing it. The idea of Learning Power began its journey in research undertaken at the University of Bristol led by Professor Patricia Broadfoot.
Research into learning sought to capture the essence and meaning of Learning Power and identified 7 critical dimensions of Learning Power. These dimensions can be viewed more like attitudes or dispositions than capabilities or skills.
The 7 dimensions are:
- Changing and Learning – our disposition to grow as a learner
- Critical Curiosity – our disposition to ask questions to ‘get to the bottom of it’
- Meaning Making – our disposition to make connections between past information / experience and new knowledge
- Creativity – our disposition to think ‘outside the box’
- Resilience – our disposition to be robust when the going gets tough
- Strategic Awareness – our disposition to be aware of and in control of our learning
- Learning Relationships – our disposition to learn with and from others