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Author: Chitra Iyer
Published on:
May 1, 2022

How to Co-create An Effective Learning Strategy with Students?

Even in the era of digital knowledge, rapid processing power is still no substitute for sheer human ability to think, connect and create. The only problem is, not every human is automatically blessed by default with those abilities. They have to train themselves to master the 6 abilities of effective learners. That's where an effective learning strategy helps. And here’s how you and your child can get it done.
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Inside this guide:

It’s the 21st century. Information has no value. It is the knowledge era. 

It’s not about how much or how fast you learn or even what you know. It’s about how effectively you can learn and use what you have learned in any situation. Everything else, robots and AI will probably do better. 

Also read: Ultimate Guide to Effective Learning

Effective learning is the ability to learn new things in a way that we can understand, remember, connect and apply what we learn in different situations. In a way, it’s proof that you have understood and can use what you have learnt in real-life situations, not just in exams.

I have read thousands of articles on learning. And I have realized that effective learning is different from any other kind of learning and studying.

While there was a ton of great resources out there, I found three challenges:

  • Many of them view learning as an outcome of building a few skills or using a few techniques. However, none explore the big picture by considering ALL the key factors that impact effective learning
  • I didn’t find all the elements of effective learning in one big picture perspective
  • Many of them use the terms learning skills, learning techniques and learning mindsets interchangeably, and that confused me. 

For example, many articles suggest that by using certain learning techniques, such as deliberate practice or elaborative interrogation, you can become an effective learner. Others suggest that by developing the 4 C skills of learning, you will be all set as a 21st century learner.

However, just like learning is not an isolated event that happens in silos, in your child’s learning process, there are several interconnected pieces that will impact how it all turns out. There had to be a better way to lay out all the pieces to go about learning in a more planned and structured manner.

To be clear, there is no formula to learn- each child has a unique learning process and will need a unique strategy. 

However, having poured over hundreds of articles and research studies about learning to learn and how kids learn, I’ve distilled all the key components of effective learning into one simple framework

An effective learning framework is the key to building your effective learning strategy. 

With this framework, you can start to work on specific areas and help your child build their own unique strategy, and unique toolbox of effective learning skills, techniques and mindsets to become the best and most effective learner that they can be.

What is the Benefit of an Effective Learning Strategy?

If a child can successfully build and execute an effective learning strategy successfully, the outcome is that they master the 6 abilities of effective learners. These abilities ensure that through life, they will be better learners, and be able to do more with what they learn, than the average student.

The 6 abilities of an effective learner are:

  • Absorb or take in learning content 
  • Understand: process and assimilate and contextualize what they have learned
  • Connect and integrate it with other previously held knowledge
  • Recall the needed bits of information at will
  • Apply new knowledge and skills to do things 
  • Improve their knowledge and refine their learning process

A Framework to Build an Effective Learning Strategy

Effective learning is a factor of 5 key elements or components.

These are:

  1. Learning Skills
  2. Learning Techniques
  3. Learning Styles
  4. Learning Mindset
  5. Positive Learning Environment

Of these, the student is responsible for the first 4, with a lot of support from the parent.

The 5th is something that parents have control over creating. (I am not referring to the learning environment in school as that is completely out of the circle of control of the learner and their family)

Here is a visual representation of this framework:

A visual framework to develop an effective learning strategy
Polymath Parenting's Framework to Build an Effective Learning Strategy

Not only does this framework help put everything that matters in effective learning into perspective, it also helps you understand that there is no formula for effective learning. The specific combination of styles, techniques, mindsets and skills will differ for each learner. 

As a result, each learner will have a unique learning strategy. However, its important to let that strategy keep on evolving with the learner's age, exposure, context and other internal and external factors.

Let’s examine the 5 components of an effective learning strategy in detail.

The 5 Components of an Effective Learning Strategy

1. Learning Skills: 

These are the essential skills of the 21st century learner. They include:

  • Self-directed learning
  • Using multiple intelligences
  • Time management
  • Resource management
  • Information management
  • Research skills
  • Critical thinking
  • Questioning skills
  • Connecting & integrating
  • Planning, goal setting, prioritization
  • Self-evaluation
  • Reflection
  • Feedback
  • Rest & recovery

Also read: The 4Cs Skills Every Effective 21st Century Learner Needs.

2. Learning Techniques

  • Focus & diffuse learning
  • Teaching to learn
  • Chunking
  • Micro-learning
  • Hard-start approach
  • Inter-disciplinary Learning
  • Practice techniques:

           - Deliberate practice

           - Interleaving practice

           - Spaced practice

  • Elaborative Interrogation
  • Mnemonics & visualization
  • Metaphors & Association
  • Exam & test-taking
  • Note-taking 
  • Outlines and Summarization
  • Experiential learning

Get the details on each learning technique in our Ultimate Guide for Parents on Learning Techniques.

3. Learning Styles

  • Visual
  • Verbal
  • Experiential
  • Auditory
  • Kinesthetic
  • Social
  • Solitary

Get the details on learning styles in our Ultimate Guide for Parents on Learning Styles.

4. Learning Mindset

  • Growth mindset
  • Failing forward
  • Polymath thinking
  • Daily rituals & micro wins
  • Mental models

Also Read:

The Ultimate Guide to Growth Mindset

How to Fail Forward

Why Polymath Thinking Helps With Effective Learning

5. Positive Learning Environment

Everything you need to know about building a positive emotional, physical and intellectual learning environment is in our Ultimate Guide to Creating a Positive Learning Environment At Home.

How to Put Your Effective Learning Strategy in Action 

For students not in effective learning mode, the process of learning starts and ends with the learning event, such as reading a chapter, practicing a few sums, attending a class or lecture. 

But in effective learning mode, there are two key differences:

  1. The learner is conscious of the learning process, and making it work for them not just during the learning, but also before, during and after the learning event or experience. 

  • Before starting: think clearly about the goals: why am I learning this? What do I want to do with what I am learning? How is it connected to everything else?
  • During the learning experience, stay alert to identify the key ideas and points of the topic, and try to organize them in a way that it is easily understood and stored. 
  • After the learning event or experience, ask what are the concrete takeaways from the session, how and where can I use what I just learned, how can this new knowledge help multiply, amplify and augment what I already know? What practice techniques will I use to ensure I can remember and recall this information whenever I need to in future?
  • The learner knows that learning is not an isolated event, so they consciously try to connect new knowledge with existing knowledge to get the magical benefits of compound knowledge. 

The focus on the learning process lends meaning to the learning effort and gets  the learner involved in the process and results. This helps because learning something you have zero interest in or engagement with is impossible. 

Keep the Learning Strategy Fluid


Encourage your child to work on all the 5 components of their effective learning strategy to activate the power of this framework.

 Just remember, it is a framework - not a formula. The value and proportion of each component is unique for each learner. What learning skills your child works on, what learning techniques they adopt, what learning styles they mix and match, and what learning mindsets they instinctively adopt are all up to the learner. 

The strategy will be dynamic, evolving as our children grow and evolve as people, adapting as their situation and context changes.


Our job as parents is to help them explore the full scope of the 5 components, and work with them to develop the focus skills and techniques. And last but not the least, ensure that we are able to provide a positive and conducive learning environment to our young learners, at home. That is one thing that we have the most control over, so let’s make the most of it!

Also read: Control or Connect? Do You Let Your Child's learning Flow?

BONUS RESOURCE: Click on the PDF icon below for a one-page visual summary of the Effective Learning Framework

Download now!

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