This activity is a self-paced student activity focused on learning effective studying and learning approaches. The activity is broken into six steps/parts:
- Reflect on current ideas about studying and "good studying approaches"
- Learn about The Study Cycle and reflect on studying approaches
- Learn about Focused Study Sessions and reflect on studying approaches
- Learn about 6 science-based study skills/approaches and pick two to consider using going forward
- Learn about Growth vs Fixed mindset and reflect on their own mindset
- Make a plan for incorporating what they've learned into their studying practices
Steps 2-5 involve watching short videos YouTube and Step 6 involves reading a short article (provided as a PDF).
1. Students will reflect on their perspectives and beliefs about studying and learning.
2. Students will be introduced to multiple evidence-supported strategies and perspectives for studying and learning.
3. Students will make a plan for themselves on how to use the information going forward to foster success in their courses.
I implement this activity in my course management system using the quiz feature, graded as homework.
I make each question of the activity a question on the "quiz" and embed the YouTube videos as part of the question. This allows students to view the videos as part of the "quiz" without having to move to another page.
I also provide a PDF copy of the article "Science Shows How the Brains of Intelligent, Successful People are Different from Everyone Else" to the students - it is embedded as a PDF in the "quiz" for part 6 of the activity. A direct link to the article is provided in this learning object - I encourage printing/saving a PDF copy of it to provide to students.
This could be also implemented in class, rather than as a self-paced online activity.
I grade the activity on completion - if students answered every question, I give them full points. Every now and then a student doesn't take it seriously and provides insufficient answers to the questions. In those cases, I give them written feedback on their responses that discusses the need to think critically and take assignments seriously.
I've been using this activity for 3 semesters now and have received positive responses from the students - comments like "I didn't know you should set goals for your studying" after learning about the study cycle and focused studying sessions indicate that it is having an impact on students. While I do not have data on how many students actually incorporate learned strategies, I have received much fewer questions on how to prepare for assessments than before using the activity.
On mid-semester evaluations, I ask students "What specific studying strategies and techniques are you using that you feel are benefiting you and your success in this class?" I see approximately 50% of the class using terminology and language learned from the activity (e.g., previewing before class, using the study cycle, testing themselves, etc.), further supporting that the activity is having a positive impact.