Study Skills and Organization

Foundations of Learning

Foundations of Learning

Learning is a process that needs to take time. At first, we may feel uncomfortable or excited because we are learning something new. As we study, we need to apply different strategies to learn more deeply. True mastery of the subject matter is when we don’t have to make effort to know it anymore.

When we master something, we can do it even when we are anxious. We learn by doing something, reflecting on it, researching it, talking to others about it, or applying it in the new context.

We learn better when…

… we are active, not passive learners:

  • We engage with texts and problems and we ask questions about them.
  • We engage with other people who are also tackling the subject.
  • We seek help from others, and offer our help.

… we make sense of the content:

  • We make connections to prior knowledge.
  • We understand how the knowledge is organized. Read more on Concept mapping.
  • We practice until most answers come to us automatically.
  • We explore how the knowledge is relevant and find real life examples.
  • We learn how to evaluate the sources and think critically about arguments.

… we pay attention to how we learn:

  • We favor active study skills over passive.
  • We take time to organize our learning.
  • We monitor our own learning and evaluate our own progress.
  • We learn from mistakes and adapt.

… we are motivated and self-disciplined:

  • We value knowing things for ourselves and for the society.
  • We practice good time and attention management strategies.


Why is learning online harder?

  • Many active learning strategies requires close collaboration with others.
  • Teachers can help you monitor your own progress more easily when in class.
  • College setting provides structure that helps you to focus and to stay motivated.

How to deal with learning online?

  • Take advantage of the opportunities to collaborate and study with classmates.
  • Ask professors and school tutors for help.
  • Test yourself often to monitor your understanding of the subject.
  • Use checklists to monitor your progress.
  • Use school’s online resources.
  • Watch online videos on the subject you are learning.
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