Learning Strategy 12: Conversation

Robert Harris
Version Date: February 27, 2014


In a nutshell, this learning strategy involves learning by talking about what we are studying and listening to the input of others.


Observers have long noted that we really discover what we know and what we are thinking only when we turn our ideas into words--talking about our ideas with someone. Other observers have also long noted that the best way to learn something is to teach it to someone else. It's this process of verbalization, of articulation of your knowledge and understanding that lies at the heart of the first part of the Conversation learning strategy.

In fact, it has been said that we don't really know what we know or what we think until we express our thoughts aloud. It's even been the experience of many that simply talking--even to yourself (aloud) or to an inanimate object helps to clarify and cement your thinking. And while you might not want to practice this "talk to a rock" strategy in the public arena, you should feel free to do it in your own room or house.


In the process of sharing what is being learned, listening to feedback and response, and answering questions and challenges make up the second part of this strategy.


Talking to others about your learning can be accomplished through a one-on-one meeting (students paired up), small groups (three or four students in a group), or in presentation format (a prepared talk to the entire class or onine community, for example).

Here are some techniques to use when you are in class or in an online leaning group:

Another way to use the Conversation strategy is to talk to people outside of class, such as a friend or relative. Explaining a theory or presenting knowledge to someone who knows nothing about it makes for an ideal challenge. And, of course, the more you have to explain, the better your memory and understanding will become.

Follow the EAR steps:

High Performance Learning

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VirtualSalt Home
Learning Strategy 1: Mnemonics
Learning Strategy 2: Paraphrasing
Learning Strategy 3: Summarizing
Learning Strategy 4: Self Monitoring
Learning Strategy 5: Self Explanation
Learning Strategy 6: Mental Rehearsal
Learning Strategy 7: Self Assessment
Learning Strategy 8: The SQ3R Reading Method
Learning Strategy 9: Note Taking
Learning Strategy 10: The Leitner Flash Card System
Learning Strategy 11: Maintaining Interest
Learning Strategy 12: Conversation
Learning Strategy 13: Group Interaction
Learning Strategy 14: Idea Mapping
Learning Strategy 15: Drawing Pictures
Learning Strategy 16: Study Cycles
Learning Strategy 17: Sleep and Rest
Learning Strategy 18: Fluency / Automaticity
Learning Strategy 19: Learning Strategy Checklist
Learning Strategy 20: Asking Questions
Learning Strategy 21: Idea Linking
Learning Strategy 22: How to Use a Book
Learning Strategy 23: Active Listening
Learning Strategy 24: Close Reading
Learning Strategy 25: Fluency / Automaticity
Learning Strategy 26: Power Thinking
Learning Strategy 27: Planning for Learning
Learning Strategy 28: Outlining
Learning Strategy 29: Analogies
Copyright 2013 by Robert Harris | How to cite this page
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About the author:
Robert Harris is a writer and educator with more than 25 years of teaching experience at the college and university level. RHarris at virtualsalt.com