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Characteristics of Effective Learning

Characteristics of Effective Learning


Effective learning behaviours are critical to building self-assured, confident and intelligent young minds. While these characteristics underpin the Early Years curriculum, at Stoke Primary School, we consider that they are at the heart of all children's learning, supporting the development of positive learning behaviours and attitudes across school. 


1. What is Characteristics Of Effective Learning?

Children learn through exploring, navigating and coming to their own conclusions. Traditional learning is more about what a teacher can impart on a child, whereas effective learning is more of a guided process. Practitioners create an enabling environment that encourages and facilitates learning by adding key elements that ensure this is done. What a child learns is ultimately up to them.


2. Why Is Effective Learning Important In Early Development?

During their early years children are naturally inquisitive, intuitive and self-motivated. Learning and exploring come naturally to them. They want to interact with the world around them and the things they encounter. An effective learning environment encourages these characteristics in children and aids in their development. When given the resources to learn and engage children can develop emotional intelligence and succeed academically and in life in general. They’ll ultimately become critical thinkers, lifelong learners and embrace change, creativity and new ideas. All as a result of their early childhood learning that promoted these qualities.


The Characteristics Of Effective Learning:

Effective learning is underpinned by these characteristics. They’ll serve as a guide and give you an idea of what to add to your learning area.


Playing and Exploring

  • Finding out and exploring
  • Being willing to try something new (“have a go”)
  • Playing with what they know

Finding Out and Exploring:

It is important that children are able to engage with the environment and participate in sensory play. Play that stimulates their senses – sight, sound, taste, touch and smell. Through this type of play they’re able to understand the world around them.

Being Willing To Try Something New:

Trying new things help children build confidence and resilience and therefore new activities should be included in the area of play and children encouraged to participate. These new activities should be based on a child’s developmental stage.

Playing With What They Know:

To develop their skills children need to continuously play with certain toys or participate in certain activities. This way they’re able to master certain skills. It’s also not uncommon for children to choose toys and activities they’re familiar with or see other children using.


Active Learning
This Includes:

  • Being Involved and Concentrating
  • Continuously Trying
  • Enjoying Achieving What They’ve Set Out To Do


Being Involved and Concentrating

Activities should be set out in a manner that encourages lengthier involvement. This ensures children are able to concentrate until they’ve accomplished a set goal. You should allow children to choose these activities themselves but they can be added to a routine or be encouraged to ensure children are progressing. The time it takes to complete the activity should be age appropriate and based on a child’s ability. This way you’re not setting them up to fail. Instead, make the activity increasingly harder as they develop the necessary skills.

Continuously Trying

To develop their skills, activities should be laid out in a manner that encourages perseverance. When children encounter activities that they find hard to master they may be inclined to give up. This is your opportunity to step in and encourage them to continuously try and remain motivated until they’ve accomplished it. To avoid frustration keep an activity simple enough for their specific stage and age, remembering that it’s about bringing out the best in a child and not pointing to faults or making them feel inferior. To do this you should focus on each child individually.

Enjoying Achieving What They Set Out To Do

This should be an important opportunity for a child to learn the benefits of perseverance. Once they’ve accomplished something allow them to take pleasure in that accomplishment. Focus on that moment. This feeling will form the foundation of their ability to persevere in future and should help them build resilience and confidence.


Critical Thinking
 This Includes:

  • Developing Their own ideas
  • Make links and “connecting the dots”
  • Choosing a way to do things

Developing Their Own Ideas

For a child to excel they need to be given the space to develop their own ideas. Allow them to ask you questions and indulge their curiosity and imagination through the activities laid out. Crafts are an excellent way for them to start this learning process and as it fosters creativity and independence.


Making links and “connecting the dots”

The activities you’ve selected can help children develop an understanding of how the world functions. They’ll be able to see that by doing something in a certain way they’ll reap a specific outcome. On the way to this, however, there’ll be a lot of trial and error. But this allows them to discover what works, why it works and what doesn’t and use these skills in future.


Choosing A Way To Do Things

Once a child has learnt through “trial and error” you’ll find them learning quicker and initiating more challenging tasks. This is as a result of having the self-confidence and skills to put what they’ve learnt in the past into action.


Effective learning is certainly effective at building self-assured, confident and intelligent young minds.

At its core it is about making learning more child friendly.