The current perspective on our society as a learning society implies that education must focus more than has
been traditionally the case on fostering in students adaptive competence, i.e. the ability to apply meaningfully learned knowledge and skills flexibly in a variety
Based on the available research this article first discusses the question: What should students learn to acquire adaptive competence in a domain? It is argued
that developing adaptive competence requires the acquisition of several cognitive, affective, and motivational components, namely a well-elaborated
domain-specific knowledge base, heuristic methods, metaknowledge of one’s cognitive functioning, motivation
and emotions, self-regulation skills for regulating one’s cognitive, motivational and emotional processes, and positive beliefs about oneself as a learner and about learning in different domains.
Next the questions is addressed: What are characteristics of productive learning processes for acquiring adaptive
competence? In this respect the view of learning is presented as an Constructive, Self-regulated, Situated, and
Collaborative (CSSC) process of knowledge and skill building. From a teaching perspective this leads to the question: How can such CSSC learning processes be stimulated
through instructional intervention? An illustrative powerful learning environment for improving learning proficiency in beginning university students is presented.
Some final comments conclude the article.