How can we help you learn?

If you want to really understand and remember course content, it’s important to learn actively.

 Active learning means engaging with course material and taking action to remember it, such as taking notes, mind mapping, asking questions, and using memory techniques.  

If you’re struggling to understand and recall course content, follow these guidelines and work towards becoming a more active learner. 

1. Active Learners Read Actively

Woman walking up a staircase of books


Have you ever read a sentence or paragraph, then realised that you can’t remember what you’ve just read? It happens to all of us. However, being able to remember and recall what you’ve read is key to successful online learning, so it’s important to learn how to read actively. If you want to become an active reader, try: 

  • Annotating – or marking your text – as you read. You may write notes on some pages, highlight important sections, or summarise the main point of each page as you read it.
  • Making mental connections between what you’re reading and other ideas and concepts you’re learning about. 
  • Using reading strategies like the SQ3R technique.  

See our 
Academic Reading page if you’d like to learn more about academic reading and the SQ3R technique.

2.Active Learners Make Connections

Person putting two puzzle pieces together


Mind maps are a great way of organising your thoughts and making connections between the concepts you’re learning. Just like a road map helps you on a journey, a mind map can help you get from the start to the finish of a project or essay without getting lost along the way. Mind mapping is a way to record ideas and concepts in picture form. They are often used just to ‘brainstorm’ a topic but they can become a powerful tool to help take notes, organise assignments and plan essays.  

Have you seen our Mind Mapping page? 

3.Active Learners Take Notes

Workspace with computer and notebook


Taking notes can help you to understand information as you learn. Creating written notes means that you will always have a record of your learning to refer back to when you revisit topics and complete assessments. There are many different note-taking techniques; you should try to develop a technique that works for you. Try to: 

  • Take notes in your own words. 
  • Only record key ideas or specific information you may need to remember, such as dates, definitions and examples. 
  • Keep your notes organised and store them all in the same place. 
  • Record notes in different formats, such as in tables, diagrams, pictures, mind maps and vocabulary lists. 

4. Active Learners Ask Questions

Man with a question

Never be afraid to ask questions. Facilitators know that learners who ask questions about course content are actively engaging with the course content. Use the comments sections, forums and My Conversations of the learner dashboard to ask your facilitator and fellow learners questions about course content. 

5. Active Learners Review and Remember

Man sitting on books


Active learners don’t just sit back and let information wash over them; they find ways to review remember what they’re learning as they’re learning. Have you tried the following memory techniques? 

  • Mnemonics: Mnemonics are memory tricks designed to help you remember and recall information. They can come in the form of a song, rhyme, acronym, image, phrase, or sentence. For example, if you need to remember a list, you can make up a sentence where the first letter of each word reminds you of what you need to remember. To remember the order of the plants from the Sun (Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, Pluto), you just need to remember the sentence My Very Exciting Magic Carpet Just Sailed Under Nine Pink Elephants.  
  • Visualisation: It’s easier to remember a picture than facts and information. Try building a mental picture of what you’re learning, or creating mind maps and graphs to organise information so your memory has a picture to focus on instead of a large chunk of text.         
  • Association: Connect new concepts, vocabulary and ideas to a place, feeling, person, object or situation you’re familiar with. For example, if you’re learning about the business concept of scarcity, think about that time you went to the supermarket only to find that they had sold out of what you were looking for.