What are Five Methods to Help Students Become More Effective Learners?

September 08, 2021

By Melodie Rowbotham, PhD, RN, CNE

Faculty Development Fellow


At the Midweek Mentor on September 8, we watch a presentation by Dr. Maryellen Wiemer who is the editor of The Teaching Professor.  Her five suggestions are as follows.

  1. Help students to develop metacognition (understanding their thought process) awareness. Students need to know more about learning and encounter themselves as learners.  For example, students can review exams after to help them understand why they answered the way they did both right and wrong answers.
  2. Help students increase their self-efficacy or their belief that they can be successful or accomplish a task. Faculty can help students raise their self-efficacy by helping the students to be successful in learning (Performance accomplishment).  Another way is by vicarious experiences, seeing others like them be successful.  Faculty also need to believe students can be successful and provide feedback and support as needed (social persuasion).  Finally, students are influenced by their physiological reaction to the learning.  If the learning causes anxiety, fear, and stress, then these feelings impact their self-efficacy.  Providing a learning environment supporting positive learning experience should be a focus of faculty.
  3. Cultivate a love of learning. Faculty should show their enthusiasm for the course and model their love of learning.  Show the students how you learn and how they can as well.
  4. Help the students learn evidence-based study strategies. She gave suggestions of distributive practice (reviewing of material often not cramming), self-testing, students providing explanations of the topic, interleaving (helping student connect concepts) and encourage study groups.
  5. Help students deal with the downsides of learning. Learning is not easy; it is hard and messy.  Sometimes learning is fun but not always. Students should expect failure and frustration and see these as opportunities for learning. 

After viewing the video faculty discussed strategies, they use to increase student participation in the learning. What do you do to engage students in the learning process?

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