1. The intention and desire to learn
What is the most important factor in successful student learning?
2. Paying close attention to the material as you study
3. Learning in a way that matches your own learning style
4. The amount of time you spend studying
5. What you think about while studying
Many factors influence how well students learn—but what students think about while studying is especially crucial for learning. Students learn better when they engage the material deeply and are mindful of their own learning. Deep and mindful are an important combination. Deep engagement means that students think about the meaning of the material whether it is written text, a graphical display, a formula, oral statements, etc. When students try to discern the meaning of material they are more likely to understand and remember it. Students can do this by explaining the material to themselves, self testing their understanding, trying to predict how an idea will play out, noticing similarities and differences among ideas, and so forth. Whether students use these types of strategies depends on their ability to monitor their understanding and regulate their learning (metacognition). Students need to keep track of their own learning, recognizing what they know and don’t know, and then adjust their strategies to work through the gaps in their learning.
In How To Get The Most Out of Studying Video Series, Dr. Stephen Chew, professor of psychology at Samford University, explores how students can improve their study skills and employ deeper and more mindful approaches to studying. These are an excellent resource not only for students, but also for instructors concerned about promoting better learning in students.