David Beglar

The Characteristics of Successful Learning

Researchers in a number of academic fields have investigated learning from various theoretical and practical perspectives with the goals of better understanding why learning does and does not take place and how to increase the effectiveness and efficiency of learning both inside and outside of a classroom setting. Some might find it surprising that their findings generally converge on a small set of educational principles that appear to underlie successful learning in a wide variety of domains. In this presentation I outline six key learning principles synthesized from the fields of cognitive psychology, general education, second language acquisition, and music education, and from research on the development of expertise. Five of the six principles primarily concern cognitive aspects of learning, while one, the motivation to learn a skill, concerns an affective aspect of learning. Although teachers and learners in any skill domain can apply these six principles, in this presentation I focus on applying the principles to the skill of learning to speak a foreign language, as the acquisition of this skill is being pursued by hundreds of millions of persons in the world today, and in some instances, is a key ingredient involved in personal and professional success.


David Beglar's primary research interests are in the areas of vocabulary learning and teaching and foreign language assessment. He has published articles in a number of journals including Language Learning, Language Testing, and Reading in a Foreign Language and is the co-author of Inside Track: Writing Dissertations and Theses (Pearson Education, 2009).