I wish we didn’t so exclusively connect the concept of learning with formal education and going to school or being a (college) student. Because learning actually happens everywhere, all the time. At school learning is just more focused and targeted to meet the standards or performance measures of the course.
Maybe it is just me, thinking how being a learner only depends on your mindset? With a curious approach to life even reading your daily newspaper can become a learning experience, not to talk about diving into books…or the wonderful open source journals, databases, libraries… and wikipedia. Maybe I am addicted to learning, but I consider a great fun to hit the random article button in wikipedia and reading about something I maybe knew nothing about.
Lifelong learning is so important in these times when there is more information available in our fingertips than ever before!
Unfortunately many students are schooled out of their minds with too tight performance measures and learning objectives that leave very little or no space for wondering and creativity. How can we help students to become interested in learning, not just expecting to be schooled or pass a test? How to help more students to become lifelong learners?
One way is to equip students with the skills to self-regulate their learning. Helping students to think about their learning (tasks) and how they relate to a bigger picture, focus on their own thinking and learning while engaging in the task, and self-evaluate their learning? (These components are also called forethought, performance control and self-reflection, as seen in Zimmerman, 2002.)
As a teacher and mentor I try to understand what is the mindset of my students, and I created the typology below to illustrate the four different types of students we have.
Newman, R. S. (2008). The motivational role of adaptive help seeking in self-regulated learning. Motivation and self-regulated learning: Theory, research, and applications, 315-337.
Zimmerman, B. J. (2002). Becoming a self-regulated learner: An overview.Theory into practice, 41(2), 64-70.