Independent learning: Structuring the learning of a topic, the RAR approach - webinar round-up

The third live webinar from Geoff Petty from our series on ‘Teaching in the time of the coronavirus’, looked at how to structure the learning of a topic and keep your learners feeling motivated. The ‘RAR’ approach is based on the ‘Receive, Apply and Reuse’ structure.


Your say

Webinar 3 Poll



  • I constantly ask my students the definition of certain key terms over the course of the topic. I find that this means when they come to assessment pieces, they will then start to use the correct keywords in the correct context and link theorist that are linked to the keywords, such as Holistic development and Maslow's Hierarchy of Need.
  • Recipe activities in maths can use ratio for adjusting recipes and graphs for popularity of certain foods, money, addition, subtraction, multiplication and division.
  • I like the idea of putting the last question on a worksheet from an earlier topic, but slower students may never get there.

Your questions answered

Below are some questions which weren’t covered during the live webinar. Please watch the on-demand version to hear the answers to further questions asked during the live Q&A session.

  • I always do apply activities with my A level students. However, for a long time they will struggle with the idea that I am not just giving them information. Do you have any tips for getting students used to it earlier?

Geoff says: “Worth talking to them about the fact that we learn what we think about, not what we have just listened to.”

  • I might recall prior learning every lesson by asking different students to explain a chosen topic to peers at the beginning of a session, they would have been able to prepare and would have known about this a week earlier. What do you think?

Geoff says: “Explaining is a great way to bring about understanding and improve memory. Rather than have one student explain to the whole class, ask every student to explain to a peer then there is more explaining going on.”

  • I think the reuse idea is really important.  I would like to encourage students to use this with each other online but how can we overcome reluctance to engage?

Geoff says: “They might think, if my teacher doesn’t want to check this, it is not important. So ask students to do a reuse task and ask to see it, or mark it, then they will know you value it. Also explain that the task is important, that it overcomes forgetting.”

  • Set in advance tasks can be done in the weekly lessons plan. Repeat it for a few days during the week. Is this okay?

Geoff says: “Any reminder that the task is coming up is helpful, it shows students what they are preparing for and makes them want to be ready for it.”

  • What is the best approach for learners at entry level learning?

Geoff says: “All the ideas in this webinar are very relevant at entry level. Independent learning and learning teams may be hard to make work at entry level without considerable effort and scaling down to easy tasks.  But the RAR approach is very powerful for entry level learners.”

Webinar FAQs

  1. Where can I find the on-demand version of this webinar? 
    You can access the on-demand webinar for ‘Learning teams and study buddies’ via the webinar page on the SET website. This will usually be available within an hour of the live webinar ending.  
  2. Can I share the slides with colleagues? 
    Yes – slides and on-demand webinars are available to all, whether you are a SET member or not. Live webinars are exclusive to SET members only.
  3. Where can I find the resources for each webinar? 
    The resources can be found on the right-hand side of the webinar platform tab, as pictured below. You can also find them above under the 'Resources' heading.
  4. Will I get a CPD certificate for taking part in this webinar?
    Yes – you can download this from the resources tab. We are working on getting one which already has your name on it and more information on this will be available soon. For now, please print the PDF and handwrite your name in the allocated area.

 Webinar Resources Ex

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