Efficient and Inefficient Learner Strategies
Many students with learning disabilities are inefficient, inactive, and disorganized learners. They don't know how to go about learning nor do they know how to figure out what the task demands. They seem to have little awareness that they are to put energy into learning. Their efforts are not sustained or organized, and they seem to be unaware that memory is possible or desirable. Typical problem-solving difficulties of students with LD include
- They fail to use a systematic plan to approach a problem. When they play 20 questions, for example, they come up with disjointed, wild-guess questions rather than questions geared toward isolating categories.
- They fail to distinguish critical elements from those that are irrelevant in a problem.
- They don't make use of feedback to check their accuracy, so they will abandon a right answer or return to a wrong one.
- They can't generate new inferences or make use of new data to revise their actions and plans.
- They fail to draw specific conclusions and remain overly general.
Left to their own devices, students with LD are more dependent in their intellectual activities, don't work as hard, are more impulsive, and are less capable of understanding directions than are average achievers. They have no notion of strategies that might help them learn, such as studying difficult material more thoroughly than easy material. When studying, poor readers ask themselves fewer questions to help comprehension, take fewer notes, look for fewer main ideas, are less exhaustive in contemplating alternative ideas, and are less effective in elaborating on information in order to remember it better. It is common for these students to ignore the fact that they don't know the meaning of certain words and phrases, nor will they look them up.
In many cases, students with LD do not have serious deficits in their actual ability to learn. Rather, their inefficient learning strategies prevent them from using their basic abilities to their best advantage. They seem to have "performance deficits" rather than "ability deficits."
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