Understanding Foundational Learning Skills

What are foundational learning skills?

Foundational learning skills or basic learning skills refer to the skills that make learning possible.

There is a tendency nowadays to confuse the word skill with related concepts like strategy, method, and technique. Many people, when talking about “learning skills,” actually mean learning strategies, or learning methods, or learning techniques.

Let us first look at the origin of especially the words skill and strategy. This will provide us with a clear clue toward the inherent connotations of the two concepts.

The word skill derives from the Old Norse word skil, which means “knowledge”. Modern Icelandic still has the word skilja, which means “to know”. In modern English, the word skill refers specifically to the “ability that comes from knowledge, practice, aptitude etc., to do something well”, or to a “competent excellence in performance, execution, workmanship, the practice of an art, etc.”

On the other hand, the word strategy derives from the Greek word stratos = army, and the word agein = lead. Strategy therefore refers to the way in which the general leads his army in order to best exploit the fighting skills which the soldiers have already previously acquired through constant practice and training. In the learning situation this would refer to the most effective ways, techniques, or methods that the learner can employ the skills of learning which he has previously acquired through practice and training. This further implies that learning strategies cannot be employed successfully if the child or adult lacks learning skills, just like soldiers cannot employ strategies if they lack fighting skills.

Foundational learning skills are the basic skills that need to be taught and developed first and foremost. These skills are the foundations that hold our learning ability together.

Foundational learning skills include…

  • Concentration
  • Visual and auditory perception (also called processing)
  • Short- and long-term memory (both visual and auditory)
  • Decoding and integration of information
  • Reasoning and logical thinking
  • Sensory motor integration
  • Fine and gross motor coordination.
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Once these foundational skills have been taught and developed, additional skills can then be learned.

These skills may not seem important at first, but are oftentimes the reason why some children battle to learn and grasp new concepts, while others don’t. It is not that some children have special skills and others don’t. It’s a matter of how well their foundational skills have been developed to start with.

Some children are faster at learning these foundational skills, while others may need a bit more time. The key for the slower learners is to keep persevering, and for parents and teachers to ensure that all learners become equipped with these foundational skills.

Edublox develops foundational learning skills

Edublox is a system of mental exercises designed to teach, develop and improve foundational learning skills. From small concerns, to larger ones that require more attention, the Edublox system helps learners to build a solid foundation:

  • Concentration problems can affect many areas of one’s life. The child with concentration problems might have trouble listening, or he might be unable to learn. Concentration is a very important foundational skill and is therefore prioritized in every Edublox lesson.
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  • While sensation is the pickup of information by our sensory receptors, for example the eyes, ears, skin, nostrils, and tongue, perception is the interpretation of what is sensed. A classic perceptual problem is the inability to distinguish between the letters p, q, d and b, but there are also many other perceptual problems that can impact a child’s learning ability. An inability to analyze, for example, can have an adverse effect on spelling. Edublox teaches perceptual skills through a variety of visual, auditory and haptic exercises.
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  • Through a variety of exercises Edublox improves visual and auditory memory. For example, a learner will be given a few seconds to look at a pattern consisting of colored blocks. The pattern will then be covered and the learner will be required to rebuild the pattern, based on his short-term memory. As the learner’s memory improves, the complexity of the pattern is increased.
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  • Edublox teaches reasoning and logical thinking. It has been proven that specific training in logical thinking processes can make people “smarter.” Logical thinking allows a child to reject quick answers, such as “I don’t know,” or “this is too difficult,” by empowering them to delve deeper into their thinking processes and understand better the methods used to arrive at a solution and even the solution itself.
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About Edublox Online Tutor

Edublox Online Tutor offers multisensory cognitive training that enables learners to overcome reading problems and learning challenges and reach their full potential. Over the last 30+ years, the company behind the Online Tutor e-learning platform, Edublox, has helped thousands of children to read, learn and achieve through home kits and learning clinics internationally. Our programs are founded on pedagogical research and more than three decades of experience demonstrating that weak underlying cognitive skills account for the majority of learning difficulties. Specific brain-training exercises can strengthen these weaknesses leading to increased performance in reading, spelling, writing, math and learning.