Challenges and strategies for learning

To make learning a priority, we can set goals, try something new, attend virtual events, connect with others, and explore the outdoors

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Lt Col Manoj K Channan
Lt Col Manoj K Channan
Lt Col Manoj K Channan (Retd) served in the Indian Army, Armoured Corps, 65 Armoured Regiment, 27 August 83- 07 April 2007. Operational experience in the Indian Army includes Sri Lanka – OP PAWAN, Nagaland and Manipur – OP HIFAZAT, and Bhalra - Bhaderwah, District Doda Jammu and Kashmir, including setting up of a counter-insurgency school – OP RAKSHAK. He regularly contributes to Defence and Security issues in the Financial Express online, Defence and Strategy, Fauji India Magazine and Salute Magazine. *Views are personal.

Learning is a continuous process that occurs throughout our entire lives. We are always learning and obtaining new knowledge and abilities from the moment we are born. Learning is not limited to formal education or classroom settings but can occur through a variety of experiences, such as social interactions, work, and personal interests.

As we go through life, we encounter new challenges and opportunities that require us to learn and adapt. Learning allows us to expand our knowledge, develop new skills, and grow as individuals. It can help us pursue our passions, achieve our goals, and contribute to society.

In today’s fast-paced, ever-changing world, it is more crucial than ever to value education as a lifetime pursuit. Continual learning can help us stay relevant and adapt to new technologies and job requirements. It can also help us stay engaged and curious, fostering personal growth and fulfilment.

By recognising that learning is a continuous process, we can adopt a growth mindset and become more open to new experiences and challenges. We can seek out opportunities to learn, whether it’s through reading, taking courses, or engaging with others. By making learning a priority, we can continue to develop our knowledge and skills and enhance our lives in meaningful ways.

Some Ideas to Help You Spring into Learning

Set Goals

Set some learning goals for the spring season. This could be reading a certain number of books, learning a new language, or taking an online course. Having clear goals can help keep you motivated and focused.

Try Something New

This could be learning a new skill or hobby, such as painting, photography, or gardening. Exploring new interests can broaden your horizons and spark new ideas.

Advantages of the Outdoors

Try to get outside and learn in nature. You can explore your local parks and trails, take a nature walk or hike, or attend an outdoor event or workshop.

Attend Virtual Events

Organisations are offering virtual events and workshops. Attend webinars, online classes, and virtual conferences from the comfort of your own home. This is an excellent way to meet people who share your interests and learn from professionals in your industry.

Connect with Others

Learning is often more fun and rewarding when done with others. You can join a book club, study group, or online community to connect with others who share your interests and support each other in your learning journeys.

The Importance of Outdoor Education

Outdoor education is a form of experiential learning that takes place in natural or semi-natural settings, often involving physical activities, adventure, and exploration. Outdoor education offers numerous benefits to individuals, communities, and society as a whole, including:

Personal Development

Outdoor education provides opportunities for personal growth and development, including building self-esteem, confidence, resilience, and leadership skills. Participants learn to push themselves outside of their comfort zones, take risks, and challenge themselves physically and mentally.

Environmental Awareness

Outdoor education helps to foster an appreciation for the natural world and a sense of responsibility to protect it. Participants learn about ecological systems, environmental issues, and conservation practices.

Health and Well-Being

Outdoor education encourages physical activity, which provides many health benefits, including lower chances of obesity, heart disease, and diabetes. Spending time in nature has also been shown to reduce stress, anxiety, and depression.

Social Skills

Outdoor education provides opportunities for participants to interact with others in a variety of settings, fostering teamwork, communication, and conflict resolution skills. Participants also learn to appreciate diversity and respect differences in others.

Academic Achievement

Outdoor education has been shown to improve academic achievement, particularly in science and math. Hands-on experiences in nature help to reinforce classroom learning and provide a real-world context for abstract concepts.

Exam Preparation Tips

Exam preparation can be a difficult and stressful process, but with the appropriate tactics and mentality, you can improve your chances of success. Here are some exam preparation tips:

Create A Study Schedule

Make a schedule that allows you to cover all the material you need to study before the exam. Break the material down into manageable sections and allocate time for each section.

Use Active Study Strategies

Active studying involves engaging with the material actively rather than just reading and highlighting. Examples of active study strategies include summarising, note-taking, practising with flashcards, and testing yourself.

Get Organised

Make sure you have all the materials you need, such as textbooks, notes, and study guides. Keep your study space tidy and free from distractions.

Seek Help

If you are struggling with the material, feel free to ask for help. Reach out to your teacher, tutor, or classmates for assistance.

Practice Time Management

During the exam, time management is crucial. Practice timed practice tests and simulate exam conditions to get used to working under pressure.

Take Care of Yourself

Remember to look for yourself during the exam preparation period. To avoid burnout, get adequate sleep, exercise regularly, eat sensibly, and take pauses.

Stay Positive

A positive outlook can go a long way towards helping you succeed. Keep your focus, stay motivated, and have faith in yourself.

Remember, exam preparation is not just about memorising information but also about developing the skills needed to succeed. By following these tips and strategies, you can improve your chances of achieving your desired results.

Cultivating Critical Thinking

Critical thinking is a valuable skill that involves analysing and evaluating information to make informed decisions or judgments. Here are some tips for cultivating critical thinking.

Ask Questions

When you encounter new information, ask questions to understand it better. Ask questions such as “What is the evidence?” or “How does this fit with what I already know?”

Challenge Assumptions

Don’t take everything at face value. Challenge assumptions and look for evidence to support or refute them.

Evaluate Sources

When researching or gathering information, evaluate the credibility and reliability of the sources. Consider the author’s qualifications, the publication’s reputation, and the accuracy of the information.

Consider Different Perspectives

When making a decision, consider different perspectives and viewpoints. Look at the issue from multiple angles to gain a deeper understanding.

Analyse Arguments

Analyse the arguments presented and look for flaws or weaknesses. Consider the evidence, assumptions, and reasoning used to support the argument.

Practice Reasoning

Practice using reasoning skills to evaluate information and make decisions. Engage in activities that require critical thinking, such as solving puzzles, debating, or analysing literature.

Remain Open-Minded

Stay open-minded and willing to change your opinion based on new information or evidence.

Reflect On Your Own Thinking

Take time to reflect on your own thinking processes. Consider how you came to a conclusion and whether you could have approached the issue differently.

Cultivating critical thinking takes practice and effort, but the rewards are invaluable. By developing this skill, you can become a more effective problem-solver, decision-maker, and overall better-informed individual.

Exploring Different Learning Styles in Classroom

Every student has a distinct learning style, which teachers must recognise and incorporate into their teaching tactics to ensure that every student gets the most out of the classroom experience. Here are some ideas for incorporating diverse learning styles into the classroom.

Visual Learners

Visual learners learn best through pictures, diagrams, and other visual aids. Teachers can use charts, graphs, maps, and other visual aids to help these learners understand the material.

Auditory Learners

Auditory learners benefit most from sound and music. Teachers can incorporate audio recordings, podcasts, and music into their lessons to help these learners absorb the information.

Kinesthetic Learners

Hands-on activities and movement help kinesthetic learners learn best. Teachers can incorporate role-playing, simulations, and other activities that involve movement to help these learners understand the material.

Reading/Writing Learners

Reading/writing learners learn best through written materials such as textbooks, handouts, and notes. Teachers can provide these learners with plenty of reading material and opportunities to take notes and write summaries.

Social Learners

Social learners learn best through collaboration and interaction with others. Teachers can encourage group projects, discussions, and activities that involve working with others to help these learners understand the material.

Logical Learners

Logical learners learn best through logic, reasoning, and problem-solving. Teachers can use activities that require critical thinking, such as puzzles, games, and riddles, to help these learners understand the material.

Metaverse: A New World

The phrase “metaverse” refers to a shared virtual area in which people can interact with a computer-generated environment and each other via avatars. It is frequently described as the internet’s next phase, a new world that integrates virtual reality, augmented reality, and other developing technologies to create an immersive and interconnected digital cosmos.

The metaverse concept has been known for decades, but recent technological advances have made it more viable and accessible. The potential applications of the metaverse are vast, ranging from entertainment and gaming to education, commerce, and socialisation.

In the metaverse, users can create their own avatars, design their own virtual environments, and interact with other users in real time. They can attend virtual events, participate in games, and socialise with friends and strangers from all over the world.

The metaverse has the potential to revolutionise many industries, including entertainment, retail, education, and healthcare. For example, concerts, conferences, and other live events can be hosted in virtual spaces, making them accessible to a global audience. Virtual storefronts can offer personalised shopping experiences, and virtual classrooms can provide immersive and engaging educational experiences.

However, the metaverse also raises concerns about privacy, security, and ethics. It remains to be seen how these issues will be addressed as the metaverse continues to evolve and gain popularity.

Understanding Learning Disabilities

Learning impairment is a neurological disorder that affects how a person absorbs information, resulting in difficulty with reading, writing, speaking, listening, and reasoning. It’s important to understand that learning disabilities are not related to intelligence, motivation, or effort. They are caused by differences in brain structure and function and can impact a person’s ability to learn, communicate, and interact with others. Some common types of learning disabilities include: –


A condition that affects reading and writing skills.


A condition that affects writing skills, including spelling and handwriting.


A condition that affects math skills, including arithmetic and problem-solving.

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

A condition that affects attention, concentration, and impulse control.

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)

A condition that affects social interaction, communication, and behaviour.

Nonverbal Learning Disabilities (NVLD)

A condition that affects nonverbal processing, including spatial awareness and visual-spatial reasoning.

Learning disabilities can have a significant impact on a person’s academic, social, and emotional development. Early identification and intervention are crucial for helping individuals with learning disabilities to overcome challenges and reach their full potential. Teachers, parents, and healthcare professionals can work together to provide support and accommodations tailored to the individual’s needs.

Accommodations can include things like extra time on tests, assistive technology, and specialised instruction. With appropriate support and accommodations, individuals with learning disabilities can thrive in school, work, and life.

Re-designing Assessments and Focus on Long-Term Projects

Assessments are a crucial aspect of education, but traditional methods of testing, such as multiple-choice exams, may not accurately measure a student’s knowledge, skills, and abilities. To ensure that assessments are effective and meaningful, educators can consider re-designing assessments and focus on long-term projects.

Suggestions to re-design assessments and focus on long-term projects

Authentic Assessments

Authentic assessments are assessments that reflect real-world situations and challenges. They can include things like projects, case studies, and simulations. By using authentic assessments, students can apply their knowledge and skills to real-world situations rather than simply memorising information for a test.

Performance-Based Assessments

Performance-based examinations analyse a student’s ability to complete a certain task or skill. They can include things like oral presentations, essays, and debates. Performance-based assessments allow students to demonstrate their understanding and mastery of a subject in a more dynamic and engaging way than traditional exams.

Long-Term Projects

Long-term projects are projects that extend over a period of time and require students to plan, research, and execute complex tasks. By working on long-term projects, students can develop critical thinking, problem-solving, and time-management skills.


Portfolios are collections of student work that demonstrate their learning progress over time. They can include written assignments, creative projects, and other assessments. Portfolios allow students to reflect on their learning and showcase their skills and knowledge to others.

By re-designing assessments and focusing on long-term projects, educators can provide more meaningful and authentic assessments that measure a student’s true knowledge, skills, and abilities. These assessments can also help students develop important skills and competencies that will serve them well in their future education and careers.

Gains Over Grades – The New Approach

The traditional education system places a strong emphasis on grades and test scores as the primary measures of success. However, this approach can be limiting and only reflects a student’s full potential or ability to thrive in real-world settings. A new approach, called “Gains Over Grades,” focuses on a student’s personal growth and development, emphasising progress and improvement over final grades.

The Gains Over Grades approach is based on the belief that students should be encouraged to take risks and learn from their mistakes rather than strive for perfect grades. This approach values a student’s personal growth, resilience, and self-reflection over the pursuit of high grades. Students are encouraged to set goals, track their progress, and reflect on their learning journey, which helps them develop important life skills such as self-awareness, self-evaluation, and perseverance.

The Gains Over Grades approach also places a greater emphasis on student engagement and collaboration rather than just individual achievement. Students are encouraged to work together, share ideas, and build relationships with their peers and teachers. This collaborative environment promotes creativity, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills, which are essential for success in the real world.

By focusing on gains over grades, educators can create a more supportive and inclusive learning environment that values the unique strengths and challenges of each student. This approach also helps students develop a growth mindset, which is the belief that intelligence and abilities can be developed through hard work, perseverance, and determination.

Importance of Physical Education in School

Physical education (PE) is an essential part of a well-rounded education. It provides students with opportunities to learn about physical fitness, health, and wellness, as well as social and emotional development. Here are some of the most salient advantages of physical education in schools:

Physical Health

PE helps students develop the knowledge, skills, and attitudes needed to live a healthy, active lifestyle. Students learn about the importance of physical activity, nutrition, and other factors that contribute to overall health and wellness. Regular physical activity also helps reduce the risk of obesity, heart disease, and other chronic health conditions.

Mental Health

PE can have a positive impact on mental health and well-being. Physical activity is known to reduce stress, anxiety, and depression and can improve mood and self-esteem. Furthermore, PE allows children to make social connections and acquire crucial social skills, which can have a favourable impact on their mental health.

Academic Performance

Research has shown that physical activity can improve academic performance. Regular physical activity can increase attention span, memory, and problem-solving skills. Additionally, students who participate in PE often have better attendance and fewer disciplinary issues.

Life Skills

PE helps students develop important life skills, such as teamwork, communication, leadership, and sportsmanship. These skills are valuable not only in sports but also in other areas of life, such as school, work, and personal relationships.

Career Opportunities

PE can open up a range of career opportunities in the sports and fitness industry. Students who are passionate about sports and physical activity can pursue careers in coaching, personal training, sports management, and other related fields.

Distance Learning Tools and Resources

Distance learning has become a more common form of education in recent years, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. Here are some tools and resources that can be helpful for both teachers and students in a distance learning setting.

Video Conferencing Software

Video conferencing software like Zoom, Google Meet, and Microsoft Teams can be used to facilitate virtual classroom discussions, lectures, and group work. These tools allow teachers and students to connect and interact in real time, regardless of their location.

Learning management systems (LMS)

LMS platforms like Canvas, Blackboard, and Moodle can be used to manage course content, assignments, and assessments. Teachers can use LMS platforms to create and share course materials, track student progress, and provide feedback.

Online Collaboration Tools

Online collaboration tools like Google Docs, Dropbox, and OneDrive can be used to facilitate group work and document sharing. These tools allow students to work together on projects, share files, and communicate in real time.

Educational Video Resources

Websites like Khan Academy, TED-Ed, and Crash Course offer a variety of educational videos on a range of topics. These videos can be used to supplement classroom instruction and provide students with additional learning opportunities.

Digital Textbooks and eBooks

Many textbook publishers now offer digital versions of their textbooks and eBooks, which can be accessed through platforms like Kindle, iBooks, and Google Play Books. These resources can be more affordable and accessible than traditional print textbooks.

Online Assessment Tools

Online assessment tools like Google Forms, Quizlet, and Kahoot can be used to create and administer quizzes, tests, and surveys. These tools can also provide immediate feedback to students and help teachers track student progress.

Online Libraries and Databases

Many public libraries and academic institutions offer online access to their databases and digital collections. These resources can provide students with access to academic journals, eBooks, and other research materials.

Reflect On Your Progress

As you learn and grow this spring, take time to reflect on your progress. Celebrate your achievements, acknowledge your challenges, and identify areas for growth. This can help you stay motivated and continue to make progress towards your goals.

Educationists, or those who are involved in teaching and education, need to possess a wide range of skills to impart knowledge to their students effectively. Here are some key skills that are important for educationists to develop:


Effective communication is critical for educationists to connect with their students and convey information in a clear and concise manner. This includes both verbal and written communication skills.


Educationists need to be creative in developing lesson plans and activities that engage students and make learning fun and interesting. This can involve incorporating new technologies, hands-on activities, or group work into their teaching approach.


Teaching can be a challenging and frustrating profession at times, and educationists need to have patience when working with students who may struggle with certain concepts or behaviours.


Educationists need to be flexible and adaptable, as they may need to adjust their teaching methods or approach based on the needs of their students or changes in the curriculum.

Subject Matter Expertise

Educationists should have a deep understanding of the subject matter they are teaching, including current research and trends in their field.


Educationists should have empathy and understanding for their students, recognising that each student has their own unique learning style, background, and needs.

Critical Thinking

Educationists should be able to think critically about the material they are teaching and the methods they are using to teach it. This includes evaluating the effectiveness of their approach and making adjustments as needed.

By developing these skills, educationists can create an effective and engaging learning environment for their students and help them succeed academically and personally.


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