According to Tony Buzan, the world authority on
mind mapping and thinking skills, “Learning how
to learn is life’s most important skill.” This is
indeed true for most of our learners who are mostly working
adults who had left school or college for years, maybe even
decades. These learners are accustomed to learning in the
working environment through the hands-on approach,
instructions, experience and so on. A few may have never
seen a computer, let alone use the Internet. Hence, returning
to university may be challenging for them, especially when
it comes to learning.
Assoc Prof Dr Abdul Wahab Abdul Ghani, from the
Faculty of Education and Languages (FEL), believes that
learners in general have no problems in learning. The fact
that they enrolled in university indicates their confidence in
their learning skills. However, if they intend to excel in their
studies, they need to learn new skills as well as learn how to
learn these skills.
There are certain skills that learners need to master
such as how to access myLMS and the digital library. Dr
Wahab is of the opinion that more than one tutorial should
be conducted to ensure that learners truly understand these
Some learners may find it difficult to accept new knowledge
that they consider as irrelevant such as mathematics. Here,
Dr Wahab suggests the use of multimedia techniques
such as e-content. However, not all learners will respond
positively to subjects that they do not like. Hence, other than
teaching them the techniques of learning, the tutor must also
provide motivation such as telling them about the benefits of
mathematics or other technical subjects in their daily life.
Siti Farina Sheikh Mohamed from FEL concurs that
mathematics is unpopular among some learners. However,
OUM has introduced a number of innovations to assist
learners in learning this subject. One example is the
Mathematics Resource Centre (MRC). In the MRC portal,
learners can access many websites related to mathematics as
well as post questions to tutors. Soon, another portal on the
English Language will be put up in myLMS.
Another technique is the supplemental instructor’s
technique used by Richard Ng from the Perak Learning
Centre. Here, learners who are strong in this subject are taught various ways to be math mentors for weak learners.
In short, they learn how to learn by being instructors
Mohamad Ayub Mat Zain, the manager of the Centre
for Assessment of Prior Learning, agrees with Dr Wahab.
According to him, all open entry learners are required to
attend a one-day Learning Skills Workshop. During this
workshop, learners learn how to do assignments, take
notes and use the digital library. Another vital skill is time
management. Students learn how to allocate their time
effectively so that they can study and juggle other aspects of
life like family and work.
Mohamad Ayub strongly believes that the workshop has
achieved its objective of teaching learners how to learn.
Prior to this, there was no such workshop and many learners
found it difficult to adapt to the university environment. As
a result, many learners did not know how to use the myLMS
and the digital library - some even had problems logging into
myLMS. The introduction of the Learning Skills Workshop
helped to reduce these problems.
In conclusion, OUM is well aware of the importance
of learning how to learn. Tutors need to be aware of these
facilities so that they can inform their learners. By helping
the learners learn effectively, the tutors can look forward to
more learner participation.