Become a Social Learner and Develop Your Skills

What if someone told you that effective learning was not just about sitting in the library with your head buried in books? Although libraries are fantastic places for studying and research, sometimes shaking things up may increase your motivation and help you retain knowledge. This involves taking initiative, forming learning partnerships with your peers and having fun while learning and revising!

Not only will you learn more effectively when you engage in peer learning but you will develop a wide range of skills, for example:

  • Communicating effectively
  • Working as a team
  • Motivating and coaching others
  • Solving complex problems
  • Appreciating how others learn
  • Reflecting on your experience and listening for understanding
  • Managing projects and prioritising to get things done

You will also build confidence, have countless opportunities to test and apply your knowledge, achieve better overall results and have a great experience on your CV that will make you stand out as a graduate candidate.

The principles of peer learning are founded on the ideas of co-operative and social learning in a safe and supportive environment. While a lot of peer learning schemes are formally organised and run by schools, you can also take initiative, get together with your peers, and commit to studying together and supporting each other.

All you need is some space, set rules and ideas about how to bring your skills and knowledge to life. Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Organise a scavenger hunt with clues and answers related to your subject
  • Have a quiz night
  • Design a newspaper headline and contents page to summarise key research in your area
  • Teach each other something new
  • Run weekly Questions & Answers or Frequently Asked Questions sessions
  • Go on a field trip or a walk and talk about what you find challenging/struggle with/would like help with
  • Use Lego to build a visual representation of key learning points. If you don’t have access to Lego, you can design a poster, make a collage, create a zine, record a podcast or write a comic! 
  • Design a research project related to your subject
  • Come up with a business idea related to your subject

By being creative in how you approach and work on your study skills, you will retain the information better and for longer. Hopefully, active and social learning will become a lifelong practice for you.

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Reflect: now that you have read this article, take a few minutes and jot down answers to the questions below. This will help you remember the most insightful points and put together an action plan that works for you:

  • What inspired you?
  • As a result, what do you want to do more of?
  • And what do you want to do less of?
  • What will you do next to achieve these goals?

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