#Change11 My reflection on: How to achieve results through Study and Learning?

Mary says in her comments on Slow Learning.

This part just doesn’t resonate for me…. Stories belong to the folk… They are part of the traditional apprenticeship model. …..(ex., The Chinese Bamboo Story)…The cognitive apprenticeship model is not quite like the traditional model. Allan Collins, John Seely Brown and Susan E. Newman (1987) discuss this in “Cognitive Apprenticeship: Teaching the Craft of Reading, Writing and Mathematics” (http://ctrstreadtechrepv01987i00403_opt.pdf) provide an explanation of what is meant by cognitive apprenticeship, describe strategies that can be used to promote higher levels of comprehension, problem solving and more sophisticated writing. The authors reciprocal teaching as one of several cognitive methods for helping students to improve their problem-solving and thinking when completing tasks… The approach uses discussion techniques, such as think alouds and metacognition to engage students in dialogue and critique about specific content throughout the learning experience. Reciprocal teaching is an integrate set of strategies–questioning, summarizing, clarifying, and predicting–that Virginia Palinsar and Ann Brown devised to help teachers to teach students to read through a passage, paragraph-by-paragraph with comprehension. After the teacher models the procedure in the first paragraph, the student takes the role of teacher and models these strategies for the teacher in the second paragraph, and eventually students use the strategy in pairs, then on their own. (I can see how you are making the connection to the Chinese Bamboo story.) The cognitive apprenticeship model with differ in mathematics. Alan Schoenfield proposes a heuristic for teaching mathematical problem solving that engages students in reflection on their problem-solving processes. He suggests that students alternate with teachers in producing a “postmortum analysis,” which involves generating alternative solutions or methods and stating reasons and evidence for their decisions. Scardemalia and Bereiter’s model of writing relies on teachers modeling the writing process and leading children to engage in the writing process providing coaching and supports so that they develop as more sophisticated writers. Collins, Brown, and Newman went on to discuss how to design learning environments using the cognitive apprenticeship approach. The model has been applied in educational settings for more than twenty years and in a variety of ways. For example, in 1995 Sanna Jarvela published an article entitled “The Cognitive Apprenticeship Model in a Technologically-Rich Learning Environment: interpreting learning interaction, which was published in Learning and Instruction, volume 5, issue 3retrieved fromhttp://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/095947529500007P. John Seely Brown recently looked at 21st century applications to games, for example…. and so on…”

I am not sure how to respond to her comments. I understand what Cognitive Apprenticeship means, though I have adopted a different way of learning, based on goals, problems and project based learning in the past. I wouldn’t call my way of learning any way near to the Cognitive Apprenticeship model.  I always prefer to learn in an autonomous manner – setting my own goals, and learning in a way that suits me, privately and with the networks or communities.  Do I use “Reciprocal teaching – an integrate set of strategies–questioning, summarizing, clarifying, and predicting”? Yes, I do, but that would be mainly with myself, and at times with my network or community.

So, may I start with this adventure of sharing my learning experience and insights, and stories whereas any of you who would also like to share your stories and experience with me would be greatly appreciated?  As I am writing most parts of this “story” on my own, I don’t need to worry about copyright issues, and I would need minimum reference to academic papers.

The following is a short paper I wrote on 30 Dec 1997. Here I have slightly updated it and included some videos to illustrate my points.  I have never published it, and as I wrote it based mainly on my experience and previous learning through networking, I haven’t included lots of reference.

My reflection on: How to achieve results through Study and Learning?

I would like to reflect on my experience in achieving results in this paper.

I have always admired people who are highly intelligent and wise.  These people could think analytically, critically, recall matters easily.  They are always prepared to accept challenges and changes.

I have always wished that I could master the best way to achieve, whether it is an academic result or a career goal.  With trial and error, I have acquired some skills and techniques in achieving results, and I would like to share them with you.


First, what would you like to achieve? Once you have written down your wishes, they could become the goals that you would like to achieve.  If you have a number of wishes or goals, would you consider prioritizing them in order?  Consider using some subjective or objective criteria in the prioritization process, depending on what you think are most appropriate.  This may be difficult, but try to make it as simple as possible at the start.  That is, you just list these goals in order of its importance and urgency.  The most urgent and important goals should be considered first.

An example may be as follows:

Goal 1

To achieve a high distinction (>85 marks) in three academic subjects: Psychology, Engineering Mathematics, and Science.

Goal 2

To reduce weight by ten percent within 6 months (i.e. from 75 kg to 67.5 kg).

When writing down the goals, you need to state them out in specific terms. Avoid writing vague or overly ambitious goals because you may find yourself having difficulty in achieving them.  At the start, you may like to try some easy to achieve goals.  This would give you confidence and a feeling of success.  Once you have achieved the easier goals, you could try writing out more challenging goals, which could reinforce your determination to achieve and a way to improve.  You need to pay caution to the establishment of these goals, because very often we might have goals set up which are beyond our control, or that there are many environmental factors, which could affect the progress that we could hardly achieve.  In these cases, it would be wise to revise the goals whenever we feel necessary.


Once you have the wishes, or goals, you must have a way of achieving these goals.  You may achieve these goals by using strategies and methods.  The strategies laid out the approach you could adopt in achieving your goals.

Example: The goal is to achieve high distinction (above 85%) in Engineering Mathematics.


– Analyze procedures in arriving to solutions.

– Review techniques in solving problems.

– Apply techniques to different situations.

After devising the strategies, you need to consider the methods to use.  It is important to devise the most effective and efficient methods associated with the strategies. Consider the 5 Ws and 1 H, that is: What? When? Where? Why? Who? and How? relating to the method.

Method Example:

To complete exercises on a daily basis: (40 problems in text) within the allocated time for each exercise and to achieve an average of 95%  for the exercises.

To complete past tests within the allocated time and to achieve an average of 95% with standard deviation of 2% allowable.  This must be achieved 2 weeks before the examination.


After you have designed the way to achieve results, perhaps the most difficult part of the course of study is the will.  This means whether you have got the desire to achieve the results through the strategies and methods that you have developed.  This may also be your passion towards learning.

For every learning task or activity that you have developed, there are four main elements that you need to ensure to accomplish the task:  Concentration, Diligence, Think (critical thinking, reflection, analysis and synthesis), and Review.

Concentration – this refers to a deep concentration (or focus) on a particular task or activity that you are working on.

Example 1: If you are working on a research project, you are likely to plan, do, check and act  This involves planning your work, organizing the information, resources or artifacts that you have collected or curated. You would then analyze the details and synthesize the information or resources as necessary. After a critical review, you would then present it in accordance to the need of your target reader.  This requires a systematic approach in research writing, because you have to put it in a proper format that aligns with your readers’ needs.  You would need to focus on the main points and avoid deviating from them.  You must avoid jumping steps, as this might upset your logical thinking. So, concentration here refers to a single mind when doing a particular task.

Example 2: Suppose you are a medical practitioner and are performing a surgical operation.  You must concentrate while performing your surgery and avoid any thinking that are unrelated to the surgery.  This is critical as the life of the patient depends on how you perform!  In this way, you would concentrate to complete the operation.

If you can keep this in mind in your study, then you are placing good emphasis in concentration (with a sense of focus), and success is not far from reach.

Diligence – this is one of the most critical factors in achievement.  I won’t over emphasize the importance of diligence.  Based on my experience diligence could contribute to the achievement of results.  Though sometimes diligence might not always give you the results that you want, due to numerous reasons, one should never forget that without diligence, achievement would be based on ‘luck’, and ‘luck’ could come and go unplanned, and thus is unpredictable.

Think – this refers to critical thinking and critical reflection, and our ability to analyze and synthesize the matters you have learnt, and Metacognition – thinking how to think and learning how to learn.  Critical thinking and personal reflection through thinking aloud could be effective ways to challenging your assumptions, shifting your lens and frame of reference, and viewing things, incidences, other’s perspectives and experiences from different angles. Through analysis and synthesis, you could better understand the parts of the system and thus could more thoroughly devise better ways in achieving results.  This depends on your skills, experience and habits.

Review – this is one of the most important parts of the learning process.  By reviewing your goals, strategies, methods and way of thinking and reflection, you could better understand your strengths and weaknesses (or areas of development) so that you could develop goals which might be more appropriate and strategies and methods which are pragmatic in achieving the goals and results.

Remember that we cannot change the past, and what has happened belongs to the past.  We could “manage” the present, and develop ourselves in response to future challenges – by proper planning, execution and review of the tasks, activities or projects.

Success comes not through luck, but hard work, perseverance and failures.  Failure is the mother of success.  If you have never tried, you would never fail.  If you have never failed, you might not have tried hard enough, as success coming up too easily means that there are always more challenging goals for you to try, in order to learn.

This summarizes how I had learnt at that time – back in the 90s.  How do I learn now? See my coming posts 🙂

Picture: Google image

How about your story of Learning? Can’t wait to hear and learn!


14 thoughts on “#Change11 My reflection on: How to achieve results through Study and Learning?

  1. Pingback: #Change11 My reflection on: How to achieve results through Study and Learning? | Educación a Distancia (EaD) | Scoop.it

  2. My intent was to have a dialogue story and the cognitive apprenticeship.

    The post is interesting to read.

    When I responded to your post regarding slow learning, I was merely sharing my thoughts. I participate in multiple conversations and with multiple discourse groups regarding practices in learning, teaching, and education. I was not criticizing; I was thinking about the difference between a story and a cognitive apprenticeship approach to learning and to teaching. In the post on Slow Learning to which you refer in this post, I was sharing perspectives that I thought you might find interesting and/or useful.

    For me, learning is not an anonymous or an autonomous process, it is a social practice, influenced by social processes.

  3. Pingback: #Change11 My reflection on: How to achieve results through Study and Learning? | UkrEL11 | Scoop.it

  4. Hi Mary,
    I shared your views. I think cognitive apprenticeship is fantastic, as it encourages and supports the learner to learn progressively, based on a constructivist and social constructivist (with the use of games) and dialogues in structuring the whole dialogue story, with scaffolding based on an instructional approach of reciprocal teaching. To me, this could be an effective method in encouraging students to create their own stories, based on their creative thinking and imagination, and to go beyond the traditional “established” story writing where lots of ideas and themes are copied and “cloned”.

    In reflection, traditional story writing and telling was where most teachers would start with, especially for toddlers and kindergartens children, so as to provide these young learners with some basic experience, fun, and a framework to work on. I still remember the prayers, lyrics of those poets, stories when I was as young as six years old, where I was expected to recite them within a very short time frame, say a day or two, and regurgitate in front of the class, or in writings. That was both an interesting but demanding task for young lads. But young students would likely learn quite quickly through this sort of teach, practice, drill and imitation approach.

    I understand your point that: “For me, learning is not an anonymous or an autonomous process, it is a social practice, influenced by social processes.” Yes, a learner needs to be guided by some knowledgeable others, in the case of schools, the teachers, and may be some others like librarians, senior students, etc. How about this?: “Is education and learning all about developing the learners to become an autonomous learner, through both personal and social learning (i.e. social practice) so they could be able to feed themselves with “information and knowledge”, and thus grow and develop within an ecology – be it their family, community, network, and society?” Giving students a fish a day, and they would eat it and live another day, but teaching students how to fish, they would make their own living. With the ubiquitous networks and technology and tools around us, students would need to know how to fish, based on the who, where, what, and how they could navigate the networks, and filter through using the tools. This is especially important when (formal and informal) learning is embedded in our daily life, and throughout the participation in multiple conversations and discourse groups (as in your practice). I suppose we are already practicing those story sharing through this networking, only that we are not fully aware of it. Is that part of your story too?

  5. I enjoyed reading your post, John. I would like to respond, but I have been working all day, and I am too tired.

    Yes, learning through inquiry, listening, reading, dialogue, writing, viewing, visually representing, and sharing of stories, information, and data are part of my story, too. Yes, we are sharing through networking… within this discourse group and within others.

    As I wrote earlier, no one wants the copy; everyone wants the original.

  6. Thanks Mary,
    I have just retrieved Stephen’s post here where he states: The main thing to understand here is that connectivist learning theory is about how connections form in the brain, and for that matter how connections form in networks generally. Because connectivists talk about not simply networks in the brain, they also talk about learning networks in society at large, networks of people in society who are connected to each other. The two theories work out to be two parts of the same theory.

    In connectivist pedagogy, therefore, to teach is to model and demonstrate. To teach is to present experiences to people so that they can begin to form these connections in their mind. And then to learn is to actively form these connections by practicing, by repetition, and by reflecting on that practice.

    Both of these imply what might be called participation in an authentic community of practice. The idea here is that to learn is to put oneself in a situation where you are practicing in the way that whatever discipline you are in is practicing. For example, you learn physics by doing physics. You learn how to take care of forests by going to a forest. ”

    My view is: We might have been practicing these through conversation, and for some people, they would call that as reciprocal teaching, whilst others, as an open apprenticeship teaching model etc. What I found amazing is that Connectivism is different from COPs in that it refocuses back on the connections form in the brain, not merely learning as a social process. I reckon this is critical for personal learning, and that makes an important point – that personal learning makes sense when the experience of the teachers shared starts to resonate with that of the learners, and vice versa. Would this explain why some learners are more involved and engaged than others, especially when the connections form in the brain also takes roots when they are practicing and participating in those authentic community of practice? On the other hand, a lot of learners might stay away from COPs, likely because that they don’t feel a sense of belonging or security, or the power and control exercised over them, or that they think it is a waste of time in the conversation with others etc.

    So, I still think learner autonomy as critical in the whole learning process, whereas the learners would be conceived to be at the heart of the learning, with the technology and media, resources, networks and educators /peer learners there to support the process – the pedagogy that supports human beings.


  7. Hi John,
    This is a good conversation. I want to address the issue of autonomy. Of course, the learner is at the center of his or her learning and people who are able to self-regulate their emotions, actions, and thoughts might be perceived as more autonomous than those who are do not feel that they can control the learning process or the product.

    As far as COPs…. I used to play cops and robbers when I was a kid. The roles were negotiated by the kids who were playing the game. Every so often, a kid came along who did not follow the rules and, well, either the rules were renegotiated or the kid was rejected. Whenever I hear COPS, I think–shared knowledge, shared practices, shared decisions, ….. oh, my, social practices that lean to heavily on “shared” and “communal” get me thinking about conformity and,…. I want to steal away 🙂 (just a pun) to a place where I can gain some perspective on the collective action of the group, to examine the COP in terms of the consequences of their language games and actions…

    The network has its own logic. One may have the perception that he or she is sovereign within the network, but is that necessarily the case?

    Snap back to the real…. I have work to do. Be well.

  8. Interesting to learn about your experience about cops and robbers game. I did enjoy those games too, where our classmates were divided into two groups – the cops & robbers. The cops were allowed to chase after the robbers, but so far if the robbers managed to escape and return back to their “home base” then the cops can’t catch them. Besides, the robbers could line up by holding their hands to those reaching to the home base, and the cops need to use ways to disconnect them (by force) so they could catch them. Some robbers could try every means to disrupt the “society”, but the cops are always chasing after them. I remembered that we usually appointed someone to be the leader of each team, and the team leader would appoint their team members – cops or robbers. So, why did it work well when young, but not as good as it should be when people become adults? First, these games were designed by and played out by the kids, and the fun elements were built in their experiences. It is not important as to who was the cop or robber. It is a way to allow children to know and appreciate that cooperation and collaboration is required in order to play well, and to have a sense of responsibility when one has assumed a particular role, to help out each others (especially for the robbers) to escape from the chasing of the cops, or the cops to collaborate and develop different strategies or tactics to catch the robbers.

    As adults, could we adopt those mindsets or similar approaches, when working in groups or learning in a COP? Yes, to some extent, in groups of an organisation and COPs, if we base our assumptions that most people (employees, students, educators etc.) will look for ways to contribute and build a better working and learning environment, leading to a more cooperative, collaborative and productive work force or learning team. The challenge is: what sort of organisation COP structure is most effective in encouraging people to contribute in such ways? Do people have choices to consider, similar to the cops & robbers game, where they could opt in or out or choose certain roles to play? How would responsibilities be shared or taken in each of the roles (in institutions, COPs or networks)? What are some of the critical factors in deciding those roles, responsibilities and structures in COPs and networks etc.? How would people be motivated and rewarded in the institutions or COPs? Finally, how are authority, power and control distributed? I think power, autonomy and cultures are intermingled in any networks, COPs, and organisation. It is an evolving and emergent phenomena in the case of open environment as each COP/Network is unique and different, and so we could not predict what form of structure would likely lead to positive learning or performance outcome.

    So, is collective action beneficial to individual learning? Surely, we all learn through working together. Our lessons of games when young could be a good model for us to consider in the case of COPs, or even our institutions. Back to you.

  9. Pingback: #Change11 Using Games as a Blue Print to learn in COPs and Institution Organization | Learner Weblog

  10. Pingback: #Change11 The Impact of Social media (Part 1) | Learner Weblog

  11. Pingback: How to get the most out of study? | Learner Weblog

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