THE secret to successful learning is that it is not a secret at all.

In fact, it is incredibly obvious to the point where it seems patronising for me to be writing such an article.

Surely everyone knows what makes learners successful or not.

If not, you could Google the topic in seconds and get reconstituted articles all stating broadly the same ideas.

These articles would mention innate ability of course, but also being organised; being prepared to take risks; not being afraid of failure; being curious; being life-time learners and so on.

What they often fail to mention is that learning generally isn’t all that exciting.

Some learning tasks require boring repetition; others a mind-numbing attention to detail and others periods of intense mental focus.

It takes time, sitting in the same position hurts, the clutter on the desk grows larger, the coffee only keeps you awake for so long.

No, most learning isn’t fun. Very few people in life are natural geniuses.

The inventor Thomas Edison is credited with saying: “Genius is 1 per cent inspiration and 99 per cent perspiration."

So learning should take a great deal of time and effort.

It requires learners to have a go and be prepared to get things wrong to begin with but also to be determined to master each area.

I often say to my pupils that they should rank order the topics which they are revising and concentrate their time and effort on those which are most challenging and by the very nature of them will return the least satisfaction to begin with.

Good learners should learn collaboratively, they should get together with one another and share their difficulties and by doing so agree pathways to solving problems.

And good learners should carry on learning throughout their lives and be prepared to put as much effort as is required into everyday problems at school and eventually at work.

I have seen many applicants for jobs who may seem impressive when one considers their academic qualifications, yet something seems to have gone wrong in adulthood.

Put simply, they have been overtaken by those with lesser paper qualifications, but clearly more drive and readiness to put the effort in.

And as academic qualifications become a distant memory it is the willingness to put the effort in, good communication skills, compassion, together with a threshold level of intellectual ability which increases the likelihood of success in the end.