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Learning Cycle

The following learning cycle integrates areas mentioned both in Bloom's and critical thinking taxonomies and in the field of cognitive processing. It begins with holding concentrated attention, the task fundamental to all learning, and moves through comprehension, conceptualization and practical application, which, as a whole, forms a cycle of learning, as questions lead to more questions, and knowledge involves self-reference and self-knowledge.

My assumption is that the more we integrate the ways to develop specific cognitive processes into lesson plans, the more we will assist students in developing and refining those processes which are prerequisites to many academic tasks; thus, the lesson will contribute to student success. The ways suggested below are meant as components to be included in teacher-custom-designed content lessons, not as substitutes for the teacher's lesson.

Process - followed by - Ways to further develop that specific process
Concentrated Attention

Reflection; active listening; reading; journals; computer-assisted instruction; drawing; making oneself responsible for presenting information to others or accountable in some important way


Paraphrasing and summarizing information from lectures, readings, discussions, etc.; understanding vocabulary; apprehending information from effort (SQ5R: Survey, Question, Read, Record, Recite, Review and Reflect); annotating

Organizing Information

Categorizing; concept formation; a structured notetaking method (i.e., the Cornell 6-R method: Record, Reduce, Recite, Reflect, Review, Recapitulate); outlining chapters; making a table of contents; creating diagrams and/or mnemonigrams (pictures integrating important key concepts from notes and lectures to use in preparation for tests)


Noting similarities and differences; culling out essentials from particulars; conceptual analysis (levels from abstract to concrete); concept diagram; linguistic analysis using criteria from class; visual mapping and/or outlining; problem analysis; task analysis (applied to any type of lesson, text structure, system or process); analyzing data in light of rules, formulae, hypotheses or predictions; analyzing cases in light of chosen principles


Putting whole together; identifying patterns and relationships; devising graphic organizers illustrating integrated network of ideas; developing theories; thinking through problem and devising possible alternative solutions; creating a new model, product or method


Coming to conclusions about data, patterns and interpreting ideas using criteria or logic of discipline; syllogistic and other structured reasoning; elements of reasoning; justifying conclusions with reasons; selecting best solution to problem using criteria; evaluating reasoning


Imagining, thinking through, and planning, how to use or test ideas, theories, solutions in life and doing so; considering implications of reasoned plan; using feedback and lessons gained from trying to apply ideas in life; reflection


Being aware of self as learner (how one learns, strengths, limitations, and style), the requirements of the setting or given task, and choosing a strategy to fulfill task; monitoring how it works and making adjustments; devising executive strategies; writing about one's goals and how one progresses toward actualizing goals in a journal; devising checklists tailored to one's situation and learning profile; monitoring own progress by keeping a log of grades, points, feedback from teachers, checklists, inventories, quizzes, tests, and any other helpful information to use as feedback for self-assessment; designing questions to ask of teachers, tutors and mentors to gain feedback and suggestions


Seeing self as a lifelong learner capable of selecting and enacting a self-chosen discipline; journal keeping in some form to record lessons and foster assimilation

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