i‑Learner Education Centre

Steps to Success » Independent Learning

Taking Ownership of your Learning Journey

I work with many students at key transitional stages, including those moving from primary to secondary, those relocating overseas, and those preparing for university. Students encounter many different transitions in their education careers, which often come with changes in expectations and their level of responsibility.

Increasing responsibility and ownership overlearning helps students build key soft skills such as organisation, time management, deadline management, and goal setting. These are big concepts that can feel intimidating to begin with, but they should be part of a slow and steady journey. Take a look at what will happen on that path.

Learning what works for you 

When you’re first in the driver’s seat, it takes time to work out how to drive! Take the opportunity to experiment with what works for you in terms of:

  • Your interests and academic passions – discover a new subject or topic of interest.
  • Study styles – do you prefer to take detailed notes, listen attentively, or record yourself summarising key content?

Trial and error is the way to go, and the most important thing is being able to recognise when something works or doesn’t. Then you can make changes and improve.

Using the support around you 

Taking ownership of your learning does not mean it’s entirely your responsibility. Even when you’re an experienced driver, there are still signs and lights and roads to help you to find your way.

As you get older, more responsibility for your learning (and success) comes down to you. However, you should remember there are many people here to help you, such as your teachers, tutors, parents, and classmates. Taking responsibility for your own learning also means asking for and accepting help when you need it to reach higher and achieve more.

Practical tips for all ages

Here are some ways students of different ages can take more responsibility for their own learning.

8-9 years (P4-5) – Transition to Upper Primary

Give students more choice over what they read for pleasure (outside of school). Children learn best from their reading when they enjoy it!

10-11 years (P6-F1) – Transition from Primary to Secondary

There are many changes in responsibility here! Giving students support in organising their own schedule (homework, relaxation, extracurriculars) can help them feel more in control at this time of change.

13-14 years (F3-F4) – Examination & subject choices

Involving students in thoughtful conversations about examination choices is a great way for them to feel engaged in what they are studying and set their own targets.

14-16 years (F4-F6) – Examination preparation

Good teachers and tutors will present students with a range of study and revision strategies. Giving students the freedom to find which strategies and timetables work best for them can be very empowering.

16-17 years (F6 & beyond) – What’s next?

Students are almost young adults at this stage. Being involved in choosing their next step after secondary examinations is the ultimate way for them to take ownership of their entire learning journey.