Learning techniques and methods

Transfer of learning

Below you can see our learning process, basically, it explains the difference between two contexts: The context we create at the gatherings and the context each individual operates in daily. The participants will not be a part of the program forever and therefore, for the program to actually have a long-term effect we need to help each individual develop their own strategies as well as applying what they learn; to their own context.

This is especially important when it comes to the abilities we want to develop. If they only manage to apply those abilities in the safe space we create at the gatherings the changes in their behavior will have a short life expectancy after/outside the program.

To counter this effect we will have to become aware of learning techniques that aid the transfer of learning. Read the list below for some tips/points: 1. Focus on the relevance of what you're learning

Research shows that when learning is relevant, students are able to connect what they're learning to what they already know and build new neural connections and long-term memory storage.

So if you want your learning to be engaging and to be able to remember it in other contexts, it's important to establish relevance early on. Think about how you might apply what you're learning today in your future job or everyday life and then try to tie it to some of your short or long-term goals. For instance, if one of your long-term goals is to land a job in IT, focusing on how your course will help you reach that goal can make even the most tedious study material seem more engaging, because you understand that it's important to your future goals.

2. Take time to reflect and self-explain

Before you can transfer knowledge to new contexts, you need to understand the concept inside and out, which is why it's important to take time for reflection and self-explanation. Research shows that self-explanation can help you to identify any incorrect assumptions, lead to a deeper understanding of the material, and ultimately promote knowledge transfer.

So when you're learning about something that's completely new to you, take a moment to think about how you would explain it in your own words, whether this means using simpler words that are easier for you to remember or finding a way to connect the new information to something you already know by using real-world examples.

3. Use a variety of learning media

Another way to facilitate the transfer of learning to new contexts is to use as many different learning media as possible, from text and imagery to video and audio.

Research shows that using pictures, narration, and text can help prevent your cognitive resources from becoming overloaded and improve learning transfer. One study found that learners who used relevant visuals were able to retain more information and scored higher on transfer tests than those who used only text. They also perceived the content as easier to learn when visuals were used.

Even if your course doesn't have visuals or narration built into it, you can try to find ways to supplement what you're learning by using a variety of educational resources such as YouTube and TED Talks or iTunes U, EdX, and Coursera.

4. Change things up as often as possible

It's easy to get stuck in a rut with your learning by studying around the same time, in the same location, and using the same study strategies every day. But when you get used to constantly studying in the same way, it can be difficult to transfer the knowledge you acquire to new environments and situations.

Research shows that organizing your learning in a more random way improves retention and transfer after (but not during) the training. So although studying in different environments and conditions may initially make it harder to remember what you're learning, in the long run it will help you retain the information more effectively.

This concept is known as desirable difficulties, because although introducing certain difficulties into the learning process will initially feel uncomfortable, it also encourages a deeper processing of materials.

5. Identify any gaps in your knowledge

Without a complete understanding of the concept or information you're learning, transferring it to new contexts will be more difficult. With this in mind, it's important to identify any gaps in your knowledge and then work on strengthening your weaker areas.

One excellent way to do this is through practice testing, as you'll be able to see exactly what types of questions you're consistently getting wrong and what topics you have yet to master. Similarly, practice tests will also show you which topics you have already mastered, which allows you to focus on the areas that need the most work.

6. Establish clear learning goals

Establishing clear learning goals will give you a better understanding of what you're trying to get out of your learning and how you might later transfer that knowledge and apply it in your work or personal life. If you know what the expected learning outcomes are, you'll also be able to focus on the right material.

When setting learning goals, it's better to be specific rather than general so you'll be able to measure your progress as you go along, but make sure your goals are realistic too. For example, if you're learning a new language, making it your goal to be fluent within one month is not very realistic. Making it your goal to learn the vocabulary and phrases necessary to go shopping or eat out at a restaurant is more doable, however.

7. Practice generalizing

Generalizing is the ability to transfer the knowledge or skills you gain in one setting to a new one. It's all about seeing the bigger picture and looking for more widely applicable rules, ideas, or principles. For example, a child that learns to stack wooden blocks could generalize that skill and later use it to build more elaborate creations using Lego bricks.

So when studying a new topic or concept, think about your past lessons or experiences and look for patterns and relationships. You can then determine whether these generalizations can be supported by other evidence you know of.

8. Make your learning social

If much of your learning happens when you're alone, it can help to have a chance to discuss it with others. This gives you the opportunity to explain what you're learning in your own words and apply your knowledge to new situations. Research also shows that collaborative learning promotes engagement and benefits long-term retention.

Even if you're not learning on the job or in a group setting, you can try online learning tools like Twitter, Blackboard, Edmodo, Quora, and others.

9. Use analogies and metaphors

Analogies and metaphors are great for drawing on your prior knowledge or experience and making associations between seemingly unrelated ideas. So when learning something new and trying to connect it to something you already know, it can help to think of appropriate analogies or metaphors.

Analogies compare two things and show how they are similar, such as "It was as light as a feather" or "He was solid as a rock." A metaphor is a figure of speech that describes something in a way that isn't literally true but helps to explain an idea or make a stronger impact, such as "Love is a battlefield."

10. Find daily opportunities to apply what you've learned

Applying what you've learned at school to real-world problems takes a lot of practice, so it's important to look for opportunities to apply what you're learning in your everyday life.

For example, if you have been studying a new language, make a conscious effort to remember the foreign names of different objects around the house when you get up in the morning. If you just attended a customer service training course, try to employ one of the new strategies you learned about when dealing with customers on your first day back at work.

Not sure how to start applying what you have learned in your job or everyday life? Go back and check your learning goals to remind yourself of what you set out to learn.

Watch the video above or read the article below to dig deeper.

Johnstal, Susan P. "Successful Strategies for Transfer of Learned Leadership." Performance Improvement 52, no. 7 (August 2013): 5–12. LINK


"10 Ways to Improve Transfer of Learning." Inform ED, May 11, 2017. https://www.opencolleges.edu.au/informed/features/10-ways-improve-transfer-learning/.

Barnett, Susan M., and Stephen J. Ceci. "When and Where Do We Apply What We Learn?: A Taxonomy for Far Transfer." Psychological Bulletin 128, no. 4 (2002): 612–37; LINK Cormier, Stephen M., and Joseph D. Hagman. Transfer of Learning: Contemporary Research and Applications. Academic Press, 2014; LINK

Johnstal, Susan P. "Successful Strategies for Transfer of Learned Leadership." Performance Improvement 52, no. 7 (August 2013): 5–12. LINK

Learning techniques

In Future Leaders, we use a combination of peer learning, collaborative learning, and active learning. We do this through our focus on the pioneers as facilitators, creating a two-way learning process. Through a wide repertoire of different tasks, lectures, discussions, creating a learning space where the participants must apply what they learn and through lots off group/buddy action.

It is important that you understand the basic principles behind all three learning theories.

Peer to peer learning

In Future Leaders, we use peer learning through our focus on pioneers as facilitators. Our aim through this decision is to facilitate a two-way learning process between the pioneer and the participants.

Peer learning can be defined as the acquisition of knowledge and skills through active support and support from people to the same degree of status and knowledge level (Topping 2005). It is understood in several definitions that there is a two-way learning process in which both parties learn through sharing ideas, experiences and knowledge (Topping 2005; David, Cohen and Australia 2014; Falchikov 2001). Peer learning is often referred to as a learning strategy, but it is not necessarily the case. There are many different versions, ranging from groups, couples, discussions, facilitation of processes, various mentoring schemes, etc. (David, Cohen and Australia, 2014)

The benefits of peer learning are an improved ability to collaborate, increased ability to reflect, communicate and learn to learn (Boud, Cohen, and Sampson 1999). The reason that these abilities increase is that the participants/students must work together to find the answers. They must share ideas, argue, reflect and collaborate to reach the answer (Falchikov 2001, David, Cohen and Australia 2014). Peer learning is student-centered and distances itself from a "sage on the stage" teaching where the teacher holds all the correct answers. This is shown to give the students far more time and space to practice the subject in focus (David, Cohen, and Australia 2014). In order for effective peer learning to take place, the process must be well-facilitated. When the students are not accountable and the framework is unclear, it has been shown that peer learning leads to more confusion than learning (David, Cohen, and Australia 2014). There has also been some criticism of the method because it does not differ from "collaborative learning", where it also focuses on collaboration, learning to learn, critical thinking and complex problem-solving. However, it is the level of responsibility that separates these two from each other. In collaborative learning, the teacher has a greater role in facilitating and selecting the tasks students will complete (David, Cohen, and Australia 2014)

References: Boud, David, Ruth Cohen, and Jane Sampson. "Peer Learning and Assessment." In Assessment and Evaluation in Higher Education, 413–426, 1999. LINK Falchikov, Nancy. Learning Together: Peer Tutoring in Higher Education. 1st ed., 2001. LINK Topping, Keith J. "Trends in Peer Learning." Educational Psychology 25, no. 6 (December 2005): 631–45. LINK

Collaborative Learning

"Collaborative learning is a situation in which two or more people learn or attempt to learn something together. Unlike individual learning, people engaged in collaborative learning capitalize on one another's resources and skills (asking one another for information, evaluating one another's ideas, monitoring one another's work, etc.). More specifically, collaborative learning is based on the model that knowledge can be created within a population where members actively interact by sharing experiences and take on asymmetric roles.Put differently, collaborative learning refers to methodologies and environments in which learners engage in a common task where each individual depends on and is accountable to each other. These include both face-to-face conversations and computer discussions (online forums, chat rooms, etc.).Methods for examining collaborative learning processes include conversation analysis and statistical discourse analysis.

Thus, collaborative learning is commonly illustrated when groups of students work together to search for understanding, meaning, or solutions or to create an artifact or product of their learning. Further, collaborative learning redefines traditional student-teacher relationship in the classroom which results in controversy over whether this paradigm is more beneficial than harmful. Collaborative learning activities can include collaborative writing, group projects, joint problem solving, debates, study teams, and other activities. The approach is closely related to cooperative learning". "Collaborative Learning." Wikipedia, May 10, 2018.

Watch the videos below to get a deeper understanding:


Kilgo, Cindy A., Jessica K. Ezell Sheets, and Ernest T. Pascarella. "The Link between High-Impact Practices and Student Learning: Some Longitudinal Evidence." Higher Education: The International Journal of Higher Education and Educational Planning 69, no. 4 (April 2015): 509–25. LINK

Kosslyn, Stephen M. "Image and Brain." Current Biology 25, no. 4 (February 2015): R134–36. LINK

Active learning

Freeman and co-workers (2014) consensus definition is that active learning "engages students in the process of learning through activities and/or discussions in class, as opposed to passively listening to an expert. It emphasizes higher-order thinking and often involves group work" They also cite Bonwell and Eison (1991), whose definition of active learning is "instructional activities involving students in doing things and thinking about what they are doing".

The Minerva school propose a different definition: "Learning is active to the extent that it engages the cognitive processes associated with comprehension, reasoning, memory and pattern perception." Freeman and co-workers mention that for many educators, active learning often involves group work. Others authors agree, and sometimes combine active learning and collaborative learning. The combination of active and collaborative learning proved more effective than service learning, first-year seminars, and learning communities, among other methods. Watch the video below to learn more about Active learning:


Freeman, Scott, Sarah L. Eddy, Miles McDonough, Michelle K. Smith, Nnadozie Okoroafor, Hannah Jordt, and Mary Pat Wenderoth. "Active Learning Increases Student Performance in Science, Engineering, and Mathematics." Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 111, no. 23 (June 10, 2014): 8410–15. LINK

Kerrey, Bob. Building the Intentional University: Minerva and the Future of Higher Education. Edited by Stephen M. Kosslyn and Ben Nelson. 1 edition. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 2017.LINK

Kilgo, Cindy A., Jessica K. Ezell Sheets, and Ernest T. Pascarella. "The Link between High-Impact Practices and Student Learning: Some Longitudinal Evidence." Higher Education: The International Journal of Higher Education and Educational Planning 69, no. 4 (April 2015): 509–25.

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