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Learning to Learn Session – Ideas?


I have been asked to create a "learning to learn" session that can be included as part of the companies on-boarding process. Does anyone have any ideas of a good activity for a session that will help people to become more aware of their own learning?



5 Responses

  1. Try this


    Rather unusually, I have kept a hand written learning log since February 1987.

    This now has a million words in four lever arch files – over 1300 entries in total.

    You may find the free downloads on CPD/lifelong learning of value on my website

    The ‘generalisations for managing your own learning’ download could be of particular interest.

    Do get in touch if I can help further.

    All the best,


    [email protected]


  2. Learning to learn

    Hi Harriet

    There are many activities that you could use, however before suggesting any I’d need more information on the organisation’s approach to learning and the purpose of the session.

    Whatever the ‘learning to learn’ session includes needs to match the organisation’s philosophy on learning. For example if the organisation majors on informal learning then the ‘learning to learn’ session could include help and ideas on how to learn best in this way.

    I believe content would then need to be tailored to the purpose of the session. What do you want people to walk away with after the session? Is the session intended to get people to own their learning, to get the most of learning opportunities, to empower people to create their own learning opportunities etc etc. This will help guide any activities and ensure they match the learning expectations the organisation seeks to create.

    For some generic topics; learning styles, how the brain works and different types of learning would all lend themselves to some good activities.

    Hope this helps

  3. The Printers Box

    The Printers Box can be useful exercise to explore our experiences of learning and which approaches work for us or issues which can cause us problems..

    Step 1 – Read up and become familiar with the process of folding and making ‘The Printers Box’. Instructions to be found here:

    or video:

    Step 2 – Create four different learning experiences:

    • a)     Give one group the written instructions and tell them to get on with it. Get the rest of the group to observe and record their reactions. 
    • b)     Give one group the video instructions and observe them. Get the rest of the group to observe and record their reactions.
    • c)      Give a second group a short training session where the instruction is in one ‘lump’, directive in nature and takes no account of enquiry and discussion. Get the rest of the group to observe and record their reactions.
    • d)     Give a third group a short training session broken down into segments and encourage and allow questions with copious quantities of Descriptive and Evaluative feedback to encourage the learner. Get the rest of the group to observe and record their reactions.

    Step 3 – After the learning experiences have been completed (you don’t necessarily need to do all four)  facilitate a discussion to explore what the experience of the learning process was for each group and what worked and what did not. Be prepared for some surprises. Some people like the written instructions and the opportunity to progress at their own pace and under their own steam. Others will like/hate the video, some will even prefer the directive, no nonsense one lump strategy. Others (most) prefer the last and more interactive approach.

    Step 4 – Finally identify with the individuals what exactly each of them prefers in terms of how they like to learn. What do they experience, what motivates them, what de motivates them? What are the key aspects which appeal to them and just as importantly what helps them. Finally, what can they do to help themselves to learn as effectively as possible?

  4. Learning to learn about…


    It would be good to know the purpose of the session and what is driving it. I’m guessing by ‘on-boarding’ you mean induction. In which case I think there are a couple of things you may want to bear in mind.

    Firstly, it is not just what you do it is how you do it. In the US they call it orientation, and how you run induction is about helping people orientate themselves to the organisation, its purpose, culture, practices and expectations. So if you are wanting to recruit and cultivate creatives then you need to mirror that in the session.

    In terms of ‘being aware how you learn’, this can be helpful at this early stage as there is a lot to learn. I’d include things like how will they go about learning all the different things that will help them get up to speed fast. I might just steer clear of learning theory and focus on learning tactics. For example, get them to undertake 3 learning tasks –
    i) find a senior person and ask them ‘what do you need to do to succeed in this organisation’
    ii) find the latest performance report on the intranet and identify what it tells you about the organistion other than the obvious
    iii) invite them to walk around the different units and notice how people interact, how tidy/untidy things are, anything else they can see and hear, and what that tells them about the culture

    At the end also ask about what worked best and how that felt. Suggest that they need to be a learning gymnast, stretching their learning skills, not just learning in the ways they most prefer. This will not only set the learning tone at a very early stage, it is also wonderfully freeing and empowering which may just help you get the best from your newly acquired resources. Or, as I prefer to call them, people.

    Best of luck!

    Graham O’Connell

  5. Mumbo Jumbo

    I think the biggest challenge you have is to clarify what you are doing and why you are doing it.

    Quite often those who inhabit the top floors speak a different language from those who are down below…

    If I recieved an e mail telling me to attend a learn to learn or whatever it was called I would have no idea what it was about and have zero % buy in as it would be interpreted as "another bloody strategy" meeting…

    My only suggestion would be to run the ideas past someone on the ground floor before you send out the invitation…


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