The Learning to Learn Project
September 1999 – May 2003

The Learning to Learn Project, officially titled "Learning to Learn: Developing Students' Cognitive, Motivational and Interpersonal Strategies for Learning", is an institutional-wise project of the Hong Kong Polytechnic University. The Project was funded by the University Grants Committee competitive Teaching and Learning Development Grant. The ultimate goal of the Project was to develop methodologies for helping students learn to learn. Three specific objectives have been laid down:

a) To identify students’ needs, as perceived by themselves, in coping with the difficulties encountered in university learning;
b) To develop methodologies and resources for addressing the identified needs in learning to learn, and to evaluate the effectiveness of these methodologies and resources; and
c) To document and disseminate the findings generated under objectives (a) and (b).

The Learning to Learn Project drew together the excellence of 20 teaching professionals from 10 academic departments representing all 6 faculties of the University. The Project, initiated by Dr Angela Ho of the University’s Educational Development Centre, soon built up an unprecedented momentum towards achieving the above objectives. Since its commencement in 1999, the Project has carried out a large scale survey, given 44 student workshops, 3 short courses for teachers, 2 seminars, developed numerous learning-to-learn materials, written 6 conference papers and published a book chapter. The Project has created a rising concern for helping students learn to learn among tertiary educationalists. An evidence of that might be the invitation of our principal project leader to give a presentation, based on the findings of the surveys in this project, on ‘How to develop a quality university students’ at the 3rd Forum on Higher Education Reform organised by the Society of Hong Kong Scholars, 16 March 2002.

The nature of the Learning to Learn Project is a dynamic one – it is ever guided by the actual needs of students and teachers. For example, the development of the three student handbooks was based on the finding of a large scale survey in which learning difficulties of students were investigated in depth through focus group interviewing of 150 students from 9 departments. The Project itself was organised into three phases. In Phase 1, students’ perceived learning problems were investigated. Phase 2 and 3 intermingled a great deal. The focus of Phase 2 was to develop materials to address student’s learning difficulties as identified in Phase 1. The materials were implemented and formal and informal feedback was collected. More materials and resources were developed on the basis of the feedback and they were implemented and feedback collected… Thus, the Project progresses with the changing needs of the teaching and learning community of the University, and the way it is makes this project a very good piece of action research.

The Project adopted a contextualised approach to learning to learn, which goes beyond the more common ‘add-on’ model, thus making learning to learn more relevant and readily applicable to students. Furthermore, the Project shifted the focus of learning to learn from acquiring a range of learning skills such as note-taking and time management, to that of conceptual change and the development of intellect. While the former approach helps students cope with present demands, the approach adopted by this project allows students to deal with the unforeseen, to adapt and make advancement. The Project thus walks at the forefront of the area of learning to learn.

In 2003, the project team put forth another extension proposal and successfully obtained a funding from the University’s Learning and Teaching Committee. The new project will focus on integrating learning to learn into teaching and piloting approaches to assessing learning and metacognitive abilities. Much planning is in motion and it is encouraging to see a group of enthusiastic teachers come together again to work towards their common goal of helping students learn to learn. It is certain that the extension project will continue to bring forth exciting deliverables and further its contribution to the literature and the University community.



THE 1999-2003 PROJECT TEAM  
   
Principal supervisor  
   
Educational Development Centre
Dr Angela Ho
 
   
Co-supervisors  
   
Department of Building Services Engineering
Gregory Powell (as from 9/2000)
Ryali, Rao K (9/1999 - 8/2000)
Department of Industrial Systems Engineering
Steve Frankland
Melvyn Leung
   
Department of Business Studies
Prof. Howard Davies
Vanessa Stott
Institute of Textiles and Clothing
Dr Au Chi-Kong Austin (9/1999-8/2001)
Dr Hu Jinlian (as from 1/2002)
   
Department of Computing
Steven Chan
Ronnie Cheung
Department of Land Surveying and Geo-Informatics
Dr Bruce King
   
Department of English
Dr Winnie Cheng
Dr Terence Lo
Department of Mechanical Engineering
Tony Chan (9/1999-8/2002)
Dr Chuen Chun-wah (9/1999-8/2002)
Dr David Yuen
   
General Education Centre
Dr John Babson
Department of Optometry and Radiography
Dr Pauline Cho
Patrick Lai
Dr Andrew Lam


THE 2003 PROJECT TEAM  
   
Principal supervisor  
   

Educational Development Centre
Dr Angela Ho

 
   
Co-supervisors  
   

Department of Applied Biology and Chemical Technology
Chan Shun Wan

Department of Industrial Systems Engineering
Steve Frankland
Melvyn Leung
   
Department of Building Services Engineering
Gregory Powell (as from 9/2000)
Institute of Textiles and Clothing
Dr Hu Jinlian (as from 1/2002)
   
Department of Business Studies
Prof. Howard Davies
Vanessa Stott
Department of Land Surveying and Geo-Informatics
Dr Bruce King
   
Department of Computing
Steven Chan
Ronnie Cheung
Department of Mechanical Engineering
Dr David Yuen
   
CPCE
Wincy Lee
Jockey Club Rehabilitation Engineering Centre
Dr Zheng Yong-Ping
   
Department of English
Dr Winnie Cheng
Dr Terence Lo
Mable Chan
Jennifer Li
Department of Rehabilitation Sciences
Dr Eria Li
   
General Education Centre
Dr John Babson
Department of Shipping and Transport Logistics
Wong Hon Shu


  Deliverables    
       
  Student workbooks Becoming a Successful Learners and Preferred Graduate.
For the Success of Your Study.
Working Your Way through a Group Project.
 
       
  Teacher resources Teacher guides for the three student workbooks
Teacher resources for integrating learning to learn within teaching and assessment under four themes:
o Developing thinking abilities by engaging students in asking questions
o Fostering problem solving abilities by engaging students in thinking behind the steps
o Enhancing understanding by engaging students in building knowledge for themselves
o Cultivating lifelong learners by engaging students in reflecting on their learning process
 
       
  Video Video on group project skills for students  
       
  Websites A website for students Learning to Learn
A web site for teachers Helping students Learn to Learn
 
       
  Short courses Course A: Helping Students Learn to Learn: Simple Things that Teachers Can Do
Session 1: Helping students learn to learn: What do your students need? What do you need?
Session 2: Motivating students to learn by helping them see their learning goals
Session 3: Helping students to achieve higher level learning outcomes
Session 4: Helping students to get the most out of group project work

Course B: Helping Students Learn to Learn: Easy Methods for Teaching and Assessment
Session 1: Developing thinking abilities by engaging students in asking questions
Session 2: Enhancing understanding by engaging students in building knowledge for themselves
Session 3: Fostering problem solving abilities by engaging students in thinking °•behind°¶ the steps
Session 4: Cultivating lifelong learners by engaging students in reflecting on their learning process

Course C: Develop Good Learners in your subject
Session 1: Learning-to-Learn instruments for use and research
Session 2: Learn to review: Learning review table
Session 3: Learn to reflect: Reflective learning journal
Session 4: Learn to relate: O-diagram

Seminar
Session 1: What works for learning to learn?
Session 2: What do students say about learning to learn in university

 
       
  Conference Papers Ho, A.S.P., Au, A., Babson, J., Chan, S., Chan, T., Cheng, W., Cheung, R.C.T., Cho, P., Chuen, C.W., Davis, H., Frankland, S., King, B., Lai, Y.M., Lam, A., Leung, M., Lo, T., Powell, G., Stott, V., Sung, T., & Yuen, D. (2001). Learning to Learn: Developing Student°¶s Cognitive, Motivational and Interpersonal Strategies for Learning. Paper presented to the 2nd Hong Kong conference on Quality in Teaching and Learning in Higher Education in Hong Kong, 24-26 May.

Ho, A.S.P., Au, A., Babson, J., Chan, S., Chan, T., Cheng, W., Cheung, R.C.T., Cho, P., Chuen, C.W., Davis, H., Frankland, S., King, B., Lai, Y.M., Lam, A., Leung, M., Lo, T., Powell, G., Stott, V., Sung, T., & Yuen, D. (2001). Implementing Learning to Learn In-context of Teaching and Learning. Paper presented to the 2nd Hong Kong conference on Quality in Teaching and Learning in Higher Education in Hong Kong, 24-26 May.

Ho, A.S.P., Chan, C.H., Sun, L. & Yan, J. (2001). What Do Students Say About their Problems in Learning? Implications for Students°¶ Needs in Learning to Learn. Paper presented to the 2nd Hong Kong conference on Quality in Teaching and Learning in Higher Education in Hong Kong, 24-26 May.

King, B. & Lee, A. (2001). The 3-Column Table: Life after the journal article. Paper presented to the 2nd Hong Kong conference on Quality in Teaching and Learning in Higher Education in Hong Kong, 24-26 May.

Ho, A.S.P. (2002). Developing Students Learning Abilities °V Simple Things that Teachers Can Do. Paper presented to the 4th World Conference of the International Consortium for Educational Development, 3-6 July, Perth, Australia.

Ho, A.S.P., Chan, C.H., Lee, W.W.S. & Tam, K.S.H. (2002, accepted). Learning to Learn: What Place does it Stand in the Higher Education Curriculum? Paper to be presented to the International Conference of the Hong Kong Educational Research Association, 20-21 December, Hong Kong.

 
       
  Publications

Ho, A.S.P., Chan, C.H., Sun, L. & Yan, J. (in press). Students°¶ perceived difficulties in learning and their implications for learning to learn. In J. Jones, O. Kwo, F.C.T. Moore (Eds.). Developing Learning Environments. Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press.