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Learning philosophy in practice

Helping our students learn and achieve their best is at the heart of everything we do. We have developed a unique learning philosophy focused on brain, emotions and motivation to empower our learners on their journey to success.


From the study of neuroscience, we know how the brain forms networks and how learning takes place when neurons connect. 
We know that doing something over and over again deepens our neural networks and, therefore, our learning. But the formation of poor learning or bad habits occurs in the same way.
When students start learning with us, we listen to them and discover what good and bad learning habits they have developed. Then, we concentrate on their good habits and the formation of new networks. 
We encourage students to concentrate on and appreciate what they are good at and where they want to go. The brain is an amazing organ which needs constant use. So our learning programmes start with coaching our students to understand how their brain works and how we can use it to lead to better learning.


The next step is to look at what motivates students. All our learning is put into a relevant applied context relating to a career pathway and area of employment. Students then understand why they need to gain the relevant knowledge, skills, attributes and behaviours; how they can do this and the impact on their future learning.
At Activate Learning, co-creating learning programmes with students and employers is central to achieving motivation. Staff work with students and employers to set the framework for the curriculum and students understand what is required to reach the top of their chosen profession. Students then decide how to practise and develop the skills, knowledge and behaviours needed. 
This is done in an environment of mutual trust, high expectations and respect. Students are taught how to listen to each other, talk to each other and think out loud. They have coaches who work on their self-confidence, using cognitive behaviour therapy and mindfulness to help develop confidence, determination, inquisitiveness, creativity and thoughtfulness. 
Through our learning companies, we offer students opportunities to practise their new skills, and develop new knowledge, attributes and behaviours. They constantly reinforce good habits of learning, which lay down strong foundations in the brain. 
Having the time, grit, determination and patience to practise something is essential for success. Mastery is only ever achieved after 10,000 hours of practice. Find out more about it watching this short video:
The final factor we must consider is our emotions. Our own feelings of self-worth and self-belief, along with our ability to try and try again, are very important in the learning process. Our emotions, feelings of inadequacy and the need for immediate gratification can mean that our brains don’t get to work to their full capacity. We have to deal with our feelings first and then we can engage our brains and remain motivated.

Find out more about how understanding the brain can improve students’ ability to learn by reading these thought leadership pieces by our Group Chief Executive, Sally Dicketts.

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