What is the Toolkit?
Students learn best within a learning climate that includes the learner, the learner’s support system, and other learners. Athabasca University’s Learning Communities Project asked residents of northern and rural communities how they wanted to learn and what they thought about their own learning opportunities. The answers that came back told us that learners would like information about how to be the best student possible and how to both create and make good use of supportive, community learning environments.
This Toolkit has been designed to share this information with you, information that focuses on you and your learning within your community. The Toolkit wants to help you build on your own strengths through connections with others. What we learn informs who we are.
Learning may seem to be a very natural act and, in many cases, it is. Think about how and when you have learned in your past. Who have your teachers been? Did you learn from your parents and your grandparents? Did you learn from the elders, from your friends, and from those around you and in your community? Many of us come to knowledge in these informal ways, in addition to learning in more formal, “school” settings. In this way, learning is holistic and continuous. We find knowledge every day and in many ways.
There are other learning practices as well, however, some “best practices,” and it may be useful to know what those are. The toolkit wants to make that information easy for you to access, while keeping in mind your community or your learning style, your family considerations, and the cultural and spiritual teachings that matter to you.
The toolkit contains information and tools to:
Share an understanding of student learning that respects history and culture.
Provide tools to self-assess your learning style within your cultural and community context.
Share ways to enhance or develop success-based student learning skills.
Provide tips on how to be a master learner.
Share guiding principles for successfully integrating studies with cultural and community life.