What makes a successful learner?

At St. Ninian's we believe that when we learn or develop our knowledge or skills there are six stages we progress through.

By focusing on, and perfecting, each stage we become better, more effective learners.

SNHS_Learning cycle


Being prepared is essential if learning is going to be successful. Having the right equipment, completing any prior tasks, turning up in the right place at right time is important but so is ensuring you're looking after yourself with a healthy diet and lifestyle. Being prepared is about being in the right "frame of mind" and being in the right "mood" for learning.


If you understand why you are learning and how it fits in with prior and future learning, you are much more likely to be successful. Your brain loves to makes links and the more links it can make the more you are able to make sense of, remember and recall your learning.


Being engaged, motivated or curious about what you are doing super-charges your learning; this is because dopamine is released in your brain. Dopamine is responsible for the feeling of pleasure but, luckily, it is also a chemical that improves your memory.

Meaning making

Your brain makes meaning by growing neural pathways. To ensure the pathway is secure we need to grapple with and revisit the learning over and over. A learner needs to spend time building these pathways, this is sometimes referred to as purposeful practice.


Developing the ability to apply your learning in new situations and contexts deepens your understanding. Can you perform to your full potential during the match final? Can you answer the questions in an exam? Applying your knowledge and skills takes practice.


It is vital to reflect upon WHAT you have learned: Do you understand it? Can you recall it? Can you apply it? But is it equally important to reflect upon HOW you learned. By considering the approach used you can consciously continue with techniques that have worked, or adapt those learning behaviours that are not helpful.

A short video about our Learning Model

Learning Model

Our leaning Model builds upon the Department of Education, Sport & Culture's 'Essentials for Learning'.

Our Learning Model also builds upon the "6Rs" used in Island primary schools, empowering students to develop these dispositions at secondary level.

"Elli Dimensions" underpin our model


The link below shows how our students designed this poster as part of one of their core skills projects in Year 7 & 8:-