The KWLH Learning Strategy is one of the most popular strategies that the learning community has used for reading and understanding texts as well as working on various school projects. This strategy was developed by researcher Donna Ogle in 1986 and was originally developed to study the literature. KWLH is an acronym.
K stands for what I know.
W stands for what I “want” to learn.
L stands for what I am learning/learned.
H stands for “how” can I learn more about a topic.
This is usually represented in tabular form. It is a comprehensive educational strategy based on the constructivist theory of learning. The first column “K” takes into account the need to consider each student’s prior knowledge in order to make connections with the subject to be studied. In this way, the student will be more involved in the learning process as he/she will be “constructing meaning” from any new information gathered and relating it to the previous knowledge base. No subject can be completely new because learning naturally occurs in graded levels. However, in the rare event that students have very limited exposure to a new topic, some pre-project or pre-reading exercises can be done. This could fall under their prior knowledge base. Some misconceptions about a topic can also be cleared if students make such entries in the Prior Knowledge column. Better understanding and clarity can be achieved as students begin to learn the topic. The “W” prompts students to state and write what they would like to learn about a particular topic in order to focus on the topic and encourage their curiosity. The “L” prompts students to write down what they learn as they read further or project progress in a systematic way. They are clearly able to see how they build their knowledge base on the topic. At the end, they will be able to explain what they learned from the topic.
Finally, the “H” which was a later addition ensures that students can progress further in their learning journey about a particular topic by having them disclose ways to learn more about the topic or how they can further innovate in the outcome of the project. For example, if the topic to be studied is Shakespeare’s Play Like You Like It, the prior knowledge might include other Shakespearean plays that students have read such as Macbeth. By reflecting on and reviewing their prior knowledge, students will be able to critically read a “new” play and compare and contrast it with their prior knowledge. An entry in the “W” might be that the student would like to know how a Shakespearean comedy compares to a tragedy like Macbeth. The “L” will help them analyze the play critically and be more involved and engaged in reading the play. “H” will encourage students to read, study and analyze more comedies written by Shakespeare. Thus, the complete learning cycle can be traced using the KWLH learning strategy.