The Process of Learning

There are three essential components to the learning process:

1. Understanding the information;
2. Organising and storing the information;
3. Recalling the information when required.

“Tell me and I’ll forget; show me and I may remember, involve me and I’ll understand.”                           Chinese Proverb

Classes in school aim to assist you to increase your understanding of new information.  However, you must do significant extra work after class to organise and store this  information in a structure which will allow you recall it at examination time.

From the table below, you will realise you do not remember much of what you are taught in class, since you spend most of your time listening and watching. However, classes are structured so that you can increase your understand of new information
and relate it to what you already know. This is the first essential step in the learning process.

10% of what we read
20% of what we hear
30% of what we see
50% of what we hear and see
70% of what we say
90% of what we do

Teachers then give you homework to assist you in the second stage of the learning process,
i.e. the storing of information and finally they test you regularly to ensure that you can successfully recall the new information. These tests are the third stage of the learning process. Indeed, the learning cannot occur unless you actively participate in each of the three steps of the process. Attending class and doing no homework is of no use as you will forget the new information.

Another factory which will effect your ability to learn is your ability to manage your time. The one key quality of all successful students is their ability to manage their time  effectively and efficiently. Time management involves a few key skills that makes  organising and getting your work done easy.

By concentrating on results and using effective memory aids, students can reduce the time spent at study and have more time for sports and recreation. If you are unable to study at home, you should find a place in your local library where you can study.


  1. Set aside some time to plan and create a list of the things you need to do.  This is called a To Do List.
  2. Measure your study in terms of what you want to achieve not the length of time you will spend working at a particular subject.  For example “I did four hours study last night.”  Is not as good as being able to say “I learned about the conditions that brought about the First World Ward.”
  3. Draw up a weekly timetable.  When drawing up your timetable, write down what you want to achieve each day from your study not the length of time you wish to study.
  4. Get started – just do it !