Before I introduce the During phase of a learning activity it is important that I recap on the whole of the Before phase. The Before phase has three processes that contribute to the efficiency of working memory and learning. For example, in reading 'attending' relates to decoding the text at the surface level of the print or illustrations. The planning process focuses on the the cognitive or thinking level where the reader meshes the new with the known. The goal setting process is a self-regulating activity that determines the direction of learning.
Before the learning activity (Conceptualise) comprises these three processes:
- Attending: focusing attention on the task and excluding extraneous information.
- Planning: ordering information (what is known) and prioritising time. This may take the form of writing notes, drawing diagrams, visualising.
- Goal setting: prioritising and setting goals for the activity.
The During phase of the learning activity (Organise) is the next phase.
It begins with the organising process at the factual level of thinking. Organising involves sifting out the main ideas from the contributing ideas or details. It is a sifting function that identifies and categorises information. In reading it works at the surface or factual level of text and reframes the information so that it can be processed and remembered.
Five suggestions for organising the reading:
- Ask, "What are my goals?"
- Ask, "What is the text saying?"
- Ask, "What are the most important bits of information?"
- Ask, "What are the other contributing ideas or important details?"
- Write 2. & 3. on post-it notes to review later.
Above all, focus on meaning and these things will fall into place.