6.45am on Monday 25 May 2020

Effective Learning

After Sunday promotes an approach to effective adult learning that is based on the work of Prof Sylvia Downs. This encourages a style of discovery learning.
After Sunday seeks to promote and adopt these principles of effective learning in the way they we work with groups and in the small group resource materials that we put together.

Below are 10 key principles for effective learning and some thoughts about types of blockages to learning. We explore these principles in more detail in our After Sunday Facilitation Skill Resources through which we help and encourage those who have the task of facilitating the learning of others. 

10 key principles about effective learning

  1. Learners need to know where they are going and have a sense of progress towards their objectives.
  2. The learning environment has to be one of trust, respect, openness and acceptance of differences.
  3. Being aware of, and owning the responsibility for learning lies with the learner. Others can only provide information and support, and provide feedback.
  4. Learners need to participate actively in the learning process.
  5. Learning should be related to, and use the learner's experience and knowledge.
  6. Learning is not only a basic capability, but also a group of skills that can be developed and learned.
  7. Facts, concepts and skills are learned in different ways.
  8. Getting ideas wrong can be a valuable aid to developing understanding.
  9. For learning to be processed and assimilated, time must be allowed for reflection.
  10. Effective learning depends on realistic, objective and constructive feedback.

Learning Blockages

There are many factors that can get in the way of effective learning. Think about the things that get in your way most of all.  Here is an example of the kind of things that people identify. Which of these apply to you either when you are learning or you are helping others to learn?

The Learner's Attitudes

  1. Lack of relevance to me
  2. Lack of interest in the subject
  3. Stagnation
  4. Learner sees no reward in the training
  5. People lie about what they have done before to get out of training
  6. Learner can't see an endpoint
  7. Pressures on the learner e.g. the boss in the room
  8. Training is seen as a nice rest

The Learners Ability

  1. Individual is shy
  2. Lack of confidence to ask questions
  3. I though I was the only one who didn't understand

Learners Personal Life

  1. Leaner is unwell
  2. Family needs and distraction when learning at home
  3. Bad planning of study time
  4. Mind wandering and other distractions
  5. Taken too much on - not finished one course before starting another

Trainer's Approach

  1. Pitched at wrong level
  2. The session after lunch
  3. Questions at the end or no time for questions at all
  4. Stop / start training
  5. Learner overloaded - too much stuff
  6. No explanation behind the theory
  7. Just writing what tutor says for two hours
  8. Assumptions made by the trainer with respect to learners knowledge
  9. Trainer doesn't want to be here - just get to over with
  10. Trainer was fixed to a syllabus

Trainer's Style

  1. Personality clash
  2. Trainer's reaction to being tested


  1. Poor facilities, noise, heat
  2. Group Interaction
  3. Peer pressure
  4. Sabotage of learning equipment
  5. Someone in the group who constantly need explanations
  6. A disruptive mouthpiece

After Sunday is a registered charity, number 1128086. Website development by Hiltonian Media.