6 steps to help you become a power learner

Student studying and being a power learnerDid you know that students who are able to manage and regulate their own learning are far more likely to succeed? Check out our top 6 tips to help you take control of your learning journey and become a self-regulated learner today!

1. Boost your motivation!

Managing your own learning takes time and energy – so it’s important to stay motivated if you are going to be a self-regulated learner! You can motivate yourself better if you know that an activity will really improve your learning and help you achieve your goals.

Think about the activities you might do to improve your English. Consider which ones you enjoy, which you want to do more of, and how each one helps you improve. Here are some examples to consider:

  • Planning your time for studying
  • Using a vocab app
  • Listening to podcasts in English
  • Analysing your mistakes or your teacher’s feedback

2. Identify your needs!

As a self-regulated learner, you will often need to decide whether a language activity is useful for you or not. But to decide what you NEED, you should think about WHY you are learning English.

Think of at least one reason why you need English in real life and write it down. Before you start an activity, you should ask yourself if it supports these needs. What skills or knowledge will it help you develop? Do you NEED these skills or knowledge? Why? Try it out with the following example:

3. Set your own goals!

If you want to manage your own learning, you need to set your own goals. But if your goal is too big or too vague, it can demotivate you and make it difficult to plan your learning. For example, planning to write the best English novel in history might not be achievable. Try a simpler goal, like passing an exam.

Write down one broad goal for your English learning. Now let’s make your goal SMART – this will make your goal clearer and help you achieve it. SMART stands for:

  • S – Specific – Define your goal clearly, giving enough details.
  • M – Measurable – Decide how you will know you’ve achieved it. How can you measure your success?
  • A – Achievable – Is this goal realistic? Set a goal that you can actually achieve.
  • R – Relevant – Check that your goal is relevant to your general life goals. Do you really need it?
  • T – Time-bound – Decide when you are going to achieve this goal.

4. Plan your learning!

There are always difficulties when learning a language, but to be a successful independent self-regulated learner, you need a plan for how to overcome them.

For example, if you are worried about speaking in front of others, you could find people in class, in your local community, or in a safe online space where you can practise English (e.g. a language exchange, conversation club, social media group, or speaking app).

Here are examples of language learning difficulties:

  • I’m frustrated by slow progress.
  • I don’t have enough time to practise the language.
  • I’m overwhelmed in listening exercises by pace and accents.

What advice would you give? What plans could you make to overcome the problem?

5. Manage your tasks!

Once you set a goal, you need to break it down into smaller manageable tasks, find the resources to successfully complete each one, and monitor your progress. Let’s try it with an example!

Choose a language-learning goal from the list below or pick your own:

  • Order a meal in a restaurant in English
  • Write a statement of purpose for a university application abroad
  • Give a presentation in English

Now think of the first small task that you can do TODAY to help you achieve the goal. Ask yourself:

  • Do you have any resources for this task? How do you know if they are good/useful?
  • If you don’t, where could you find resources? Who could you ask for help?
  • How will you know you have completed the task?
  • What will the biggest challenge be when you try to complete this task? How can you overcome this challenge?

6. Assess your own progress!

One way to take control of your learning journey is by monitoring your own progress and assessing what you’ve learned. You can do this by keeping a reflective journal where you think about your learning and experiences.

Try making one journal entry today! Choose 3 questions from this list and write down short answers to them – post your thoughts in the comments!

  • What did I learn today/this week?
  • What do I feel confident about in my learning?
  • What areas do I feel I need to work more on?
  • What strategies worked well/did not work well?
  • What obstacles did I encounter and how did I overcome them?
  • How effective was my time management?
  • What resources did I find helpful?
  • How did I maintain my motivation?
  • What are my goals for tomorrow/next week?

We hope you found these tips useful! Keep them in mind and soon you’ll be a power learner. Remember, if you want to manage your own learning you need to motivate yourself, identify your needs, set goals, plan learning, manage your tasks, and assess your progress!


If you find learning a language difficult, why not check out the Learning a new language challenges blog?

Start using the Oxford Learner’s Dictionaries today to help you with your English learning.

Author: Oxford University Press ELT

Every year we help millions of people around the world to learn English. As a department of the University of Oxford, we further the University’s objective of excellence in education by publishing proven and tested language learning books, eBooks, learning materials, and educational technologies.

Leave a Reply