Learning to learn (LTL) is a key competence (European Commission [EC], 2006, 2018). Building it into the educational system requires a solid theoretical model that researchers share, but there is currently a lack of agreement among academics. This work aims to check the theoretical model proposed by the research team against the opinions of key informants. This model has five dimensions — cognitive, metacognitive, affective-motivational, social-relational, and ethical — as well as twenty subdimensions. The first three dimensions come from the literature about strategic and self-regulated learning and have been present since research into this topic began. The fourth comes from the social-cognitive approach and has more recently been added into explanatory models. The fifth one is an original contribution by this group. Our research focusses on the university setting and the aim of the present work is to verify our model with some of the key informants involved in the process (students, teachers, professionals, and employers). A qualitative methodology was used, featuring twelve discussion groups, one for each group in the three participating universities (N = 67). The participants were asked a general question about LTL and then their contributions were recorded. These contributions were then transcribed and processed using Atlas ti.8. to compare them with the theoretical model. The presence and importance of established dimensions and subdimensions was analysed, considering the frequency of comments and their connections and interrelationships. The results corroborated the model proposed by the research team: all the dimensions and almost all of the subdimensions appeared in the participants’ comments. The next stage in the research process is to develop a standardised assessment instrument, based on the model, so it can be statistically validated with university students.

This is the English version of an article originally printed in Spanish in issue 276 of the revista española de pedagogía. For this reason, the abbreviation EV has been added to the page numbers. Please, cite this article as follows: Gargallo López, B., García-García, F. J., López-Francés, I., Jiménez Rodríguez, M. Á., & Moreno Navarro, S. (2020). La competencia aprender a aprender: valoración de un modelo teórico | The learning to learn competence: An assessment of a theoretical model. Revista Española de Pedagogía, 78 (276), 187-211. doi: 10.22550/REP78-2-2020-05

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Author Biography

Bernardo Gargallo López has a doctorate in Philosophy and Educational Sciences from the Universidad de Valencia where he is Professor of Theory of Education. National First Prize in Educational Research in 2000 and 2002. His current research interests and the competitive projects he has directed focus on teaching and learning at university. He is head of the GIPU-EA research group.


Fran J. García-García is a Research Trainee in the Department of Theory of Education, Universidad de Valencia, with a grant for University Teacher Training (FPU) from Spain’s Ministry of Education, Culture and Sports (FPU17/00156). Winner of the Special Master’s Prize for Special Education. His most recent works have been on university pedagogy and students’ learning in higher education.


Inmaculada López Francés has a doctorate in Education from the Universidad de Valencia and is an Assistant Professor. Degree and doctoral prizes from the Universidad de Valencia. Her research interests include sexual, affective, and identity diversity, and gender and university teaching.


Miguel Ángel Jiménez Rodríguez has a doctorate in Philosophy and Educational Sciences from the Universidad de Valencia. Special Degree Prize. Associate Professor at the Universidad Católica de Valencia. He has been Vice-Dean for Educational Psychology, Primary School Teaching, and Social Education. Director of the Educa-Acción lifelong learning centre at the same University. Member of the GIPU-EA research group. He has a long research career in the field of competences.


María Salomé Moreno Navarro is an Architect and University Specialist in University Pedagogy at the Universidad Politécnica de Valencia, where she is a Professor of Practice. She collaborates on competitive projects with the GIPU-EA research group and has participated in two Universidad Politécnica de Valencia Innovation and Improvement projects.


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