A look at the model
Metacognition: The key
Anxiety reduction tips
The research basis for
the strategies, tips, and techniques presented
Frequently asked questions
Motivation can be influenced greatly by your purpose in learning this
concept/subject. Often difficult subjects are forced upon us (e.g., math,
chemistry, history) as a requirement. Frustration can occur when it is
required and it is an area we dislike, feel inadequate in, or have had
past failures in. Continuing negative motivators can drastically inhibit
learning and success.
Strategies (numbered, but not sequential):
Pick one or more that you wish to implement and assess any changes.
- Identify negative motivators (negative thoughts, negative memories,
negative visions, negative attitude towards succeeding). Begin re-programming
negative inhibitors with positive ones.
- Assess your knowledge base in this area and any gaps, strengths, and
weaknesses you are already aware of.
- Identify reason for learning and depth of learning striving for. (If
it is a required course not in your field, a foundational course in
your field that others will build on, or part of a sequence you need
- Identify support systems available for this course/concept/area.
Assess your time, looking at time commitments (required), time robbers
(optional), and times of opportunity (uncommitted times). We all have
168 hours in a week, no matter who we are, how much we have, or what
we do. Assessing time commitments and identifying study times within
those commitments can enhance learning and success. (You may want to
fill out a time/demand schedule worksheet.)
Motivation can be the key to being able to acquire new knowledge.
Often the hardest subjects are left to last when we are the most tired
and least likely to be able to assimilate new information.
- instructor's office hours (or grad assistants)
- tutoring (formal or informal):
First check with your Learning
Support Center for free tutoring options i.e., drop-in, study
groups, appointment, supplemental instruction, or online tutoring
You can also check campus bulletin boards or publications or even
advertise for help (be sure it is someone who knows the content and
can present strategies for success).
- set-up a study group of peers from the class (peer study groups
of three to five can be very effective in making learning easier for
all--maybe meet before or after class, or on "off" days)
- mentor (an expert in it who can explain it and make it easier to
Breaks can be moments or minutes. A quick break may be simply looking
up from a text, scanning the room, and focusing on something pleasant
or treasured for a few moments to give your mind and eyes a rest. Be
careful of the trap of turning on the TV, cleaning, or other tasks that
can distract you from your learning/study goal.
Plan your studying, homework, test preparation, and papers to be completed
days ahead of deadlines on the hardest subjects to give yourself the
chance to get help if needed.
Pre-read and pre-study the harder subjects. Have an idea what the
instructor will be presenting to allow yourself a chance to identify
questions or difficult areas and be more ready for new information.
Maybe even make notes of questions or problem areas before the class.
Use your textbook effectively. Many of today's texts have glossaries,
help/tips, margin notes, intros &/or summary of concepts presented,
practice questions or applications, CD/DVDs, or web sites for practice
Plan an average of 2-3 hours for homework for each hour of class.
Plan extra time for studying for difficult subjects. If possible take
a lighter load in number of credits or type of other classes. Give yourself
the time needed to learn successfully.
Try to develop a study time that works best for you and begin to build
it as a habit. (Some people work best in the early morning; others may
be night owls--unfortunately, time commitments and schedules may not
give you your preferred time choices.) If you have siblings or children
at home, a house-mandated study-time/quiet-time/or reading-time might
work (no TV during that block of time). Everyone is required to study
or read quietly.
Once a day, formally or informally assess learning/study time needs
and plans for amount of time, content, support needed, location, and
goals for that day's study session(s). If you use a daytimer or time
organizer, actually schedule your study sessions as commitments; if
not, consider using one.
- Do the hardest or least liked first and "reward" yourself
with more enjoyable studies.
- Chunk the hard subjects into smaller pieces with frequent breaks,
rewards, and affirmations for tackling the worst first. (some subjects
you may need to take a break every 20-30 minutes where others may
be fine to go an hour or more without a break)
Motivation can be the key to enable acquisition, retention, and performance.
Try one or more strategies above. As you become comfortable with a new
strategy, feel free to try others from above. You may want to start with
strategies that seem logical and doable for you.
NEXT: Acquisition Strategies -->