…is learning with and from others and also being able to apply that learning when alone; the opposite is either being ‘withdrawn’ or ‘over-dependent’ on others


This dimension is about how I learn through my relationships with other people. It is about knowing who to turn to for help or advice and how to offer such things, too. It’s about solving problems by talking them through with others, generating new ideas through listening carefully, making suggestions and responding positively to feedback. If I am strong in this dimension I can move easily between the group or team environment and learning on my own.

With less strength in this dimension people may either be over-dependent on other people, or more isolated in their learning, preferring to learn alone.

Effective learners are inclined to learn with and from other people, managing the balance between being sociable and personally responsible for their learning. They like talking problems through and find it helpful to reflect with others, particularly when facing more challenging problems. They tend to choose learning strategies which involve collective effort. They know the value of learning by watching and emulating other people, including their peers. They make use of others as resources, as partners and as sources of emotional support. They understand and value inter-dependence.

The contrast pole might be either independence or dependence. Less effective learners are more likely to be stuck either in their over-dependency on others for reassurance or guidance; or in their lack of engagement with other people.


  • Has good social resources to learn through
  • Knows how to work with others
  • Benefits from pooled learning and shared expertise
  • Enjoys collaboration but confident and capable of taking sole responsibility when required

  • Think of those you learn with as part of your ‘learning resource kit’: use them to help you think through problems, identify learning opportunities, discuss your work and test your learning power together. Remember, you are helping them too.
  • When you are working in pairs or small groups, remember to: ask questions; listen carefully; say things like, ‘Well done!’ or ‘That’s good!’; admit what you don’t know and contribute what you do know, when it’s relevant. You don’t have to say a lot to be a good team player
  • Keep a pad to write down questions to ask others and suggestions to offer them, when they are available
  • When you accept responsibility for a task or project, don’t leave the group before you have:
  • asked all the questions you need, to understand it;
  • found out roughly how long you are expected to spend on it;
  • checked you have all the resources – equipment, budget, clear brief, access to knowledge – needed to complete it
  • made arrangements for updating the group, getting help, advice or feedback and checking things out that you might have missed
  • Try to find learning strategies which involve working together, such as quizzes and memory games, for revision; question and answer sessions, to test understanding;
  • brainstorming, for generating new solutions
  • Be on the lookout for opportunities to discuss and share ideas, seek out other opinions, observe different methods and compare and contrast approaches to problems
  • See all recognition and reward as belonging to the whole team