How to Survive and Excel as a Student

The following content is intended for students of King's View Academy, based on KVA's educational model which emphasizes effective self-direction. As KVA is designed to prepare students for university, the following content will help prepare any student for university study.

KVA implements the ideas of self-direction that extend from Malcolm Knowles's ideas of the Adult Learner and Andragogy.


In 1984, Knowles suggested 4 principles that are applied to adult learning:

  1. Adults need to be involved in the planning and evaluation of their instruction.
  2. Experience (including mistakes) provides the basis for the learning activities.
  3. Adults are most interested in learning subjects that have immediate relevance and impact to their job or personal life.
  4. Adult learning is problem-centered rather than content-oriented.

source: Kearsley, G. (2010). Andragogy (M.Knowles). The theory Into practice database. Retrieved from http://tip.psychology.org


Knowles’ 5 Assumptions Of Adult Learners

In 1980, Knowles made 4 assumptions about the characteristics of adult learners (andragogy) that are different from the assumptions about child learners (pedagogy). In 1984, Knowles added the 5th assumption.

  1. Self-Concept: As a person matures his/her self concept moves from one of being a dependent personality toward one of being a self-directed human being.
  2. Adult Learner Experience: As a person matures he/she accumulates a growing reservoir of experience that becomes an increasing resource for learning.
  3. Readiness to Learn: As a person matures his/her readiness to learn becomes oriented increasingly to the developmental tasks of his/her social roles.
  4. Orientation to Learning: As a person matures his/her time perspective changes from one of postponed application of knowledge to immediacy of application. As a result his/her orientation toward learning shifts from one of subject- centeredness to one of problem centeredness.
  5. Motivation to Learn: As a person matures the motivation to learn is internal.

source: Knowles, M. (1984). The Adult Learner: A Neglected Species (3rd Ed.). Houston, TX: Gulf Publishing.


At KVA, students are encouraged to understand and adopt these principles into their daily academic routine. To read more about how to do this, follow this link.

"You can lead a horse to water but you can't make him drink" is a great metaphor for learning. As a teacher or parent you can help provide experiences and resources for your student or child, but those do not guarantee learning.

Learning is a skill. Learning is a way of thinking. Learning is an art. All of these statements are accurate. Humans use learning to adapt to their environments; to create and maintain reality; and to grow, develop, and evolve. Learning is how humans make permanent changes in how they think and behave. Learning is a comprehensive and complicated activity that, to increase effectiveness, requires skill, practice, engagement, and experience.

The following page includes learning skills and strategies that may apply to specific situations or content, or may apply universally to all learning. It is in no way a complete report of learning, but perhaps it includes enough content for you to become a more effective learner.