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Skills and Strategies
for Effective Learning

What do you think about these two ways to cut a tree?

One man is working hard, but is not productive in making fast progress.
The other is working smart by using an effective tool, and is getting results!

This page shows you ideas for "getting results" that will
help you more fully enjoy the great adventure of learning.


      Learning Skills — for Now and for Life

      One of the most valuable things a teacher can do is to help students prepare for lifelong learning.  Improved learning skills — concentrating, reading and listening, remembering, using time, and more — are immediately useful and will continue paying dividends for a long time.

      Motivations and Learning Strategies

      Personal motives for learning can be immediate or long-term, extrinsic or intrinsic.  You may be eager to learn because it's fun now, or it will be useful later, or both.  When students discover that it's fun to learn and think, they'll want to do it more often and more skillfully!  The master skill of "learning how to learn" is illustrated with true stories (why employers hired an unconventional worker, and how I didn't learn to ski) in Effective Learning - Motivations and Strategies for Personal Education.   Problem Solving & Metacognition in Education has summaries of these ideas, and much more.
      A related master skills are metacognition & knowing how to learn plus associated ideas-and-skills: motivation, self-efficacy, self-regulation, formative feedback.

      Study Skills & Thinking Skills for Effective Learning

      study is "the process of applying the mind in order to acquire knowledge" (Webster's Dictionary) so study skills are learning skills that are also thinking skills when study includes "careful attention to, and critical examination and investigation of, a subject."
      Of course, we don't want to "learn" things that are not useful or are simply wrong (are not true) since our main problem, as noted by Mark Twain, is "what we know that just ain't so."  Therefore, we should wisely evaluate ideas with critical thinking.  We can also explore strategies (and attitudes) for generating ideas with creative thinking.  And learning, both individual and collective, can be improved by disciplined methods for effectively using these thinking skills and problem-solving strategies as in design process and scientific method.

      Learning Skills — Web Resources

      Dartmouth College offers useful information and advice for Maximizing Your Academic Experience including handouts, videos, links, and more.
      The University of Texas (at Austin) shares their learning skills handouts to help you (or your students) improve their Learning Strategies & Skills, for Writing, Reading, Math/Science, Graduate Exam/Placement Test Preparation, English as a Foreign Language, Life Management, and Learning Difficulties.  This page also has links, in the left margin, to services for UT students, faculty, visitors, and staff.
      Test Anxiety & Optimal Performance — with principles that are also useful for most non-exam situations in life.
      Skills & Strategies for Effective Learning is a collection of useful ideas — gathered by Craig Rusbult (editor of this website) from a variety of books — about memory, concentration, active reading and listening, exam preparation & performance, and wise use of time.
      The Critical Thinking Community offers guidelines for How to Study and Learn (Parts 1 & 2) and more.
      Generally, learning skills that are effective in college (at Dartmouth, Texas, and elsewhere) are also effective for younger students;  "learning skills strategies" designed specifically for younger students (in high school, middle school, and elementary school) will be here by November 2010.

      Because learning and thinking are closely related, modern theories of learning (constructivism,...) emphasize the importance of THINKING when we learn.

      A WebSurfing Tip:  You probably know this already, but usually you can find various levels of home-pages in a website by gradually "stripping off" the end of the URL after each slash ( / ).  For example, you'll see a content-page followed by three home-pages when you begin with "" and strip off "time.html" (then press RETURN) and remove "success/" (press RETURN) and remove "%7Eacskills/" (press "RETURN).

      There is an abundance of resources on the web.  I prefer to offer you selectivity (as in the top part of this page) with only high-quality resources, but — if you don't mind feeling overwhelmed and you're willing to do your own "selecting" — an awesomely comprehensive website, with 1700 pages in 55 categories of learning skills, was researched by the chemistry students of Wilton High School, guided by their teacher, the late Dr. Bob Jacobs:  Chemistry Coach (for Learning Skills,...)

LINKS for Areas of "Whole-Person Education" Website

This website for Whole-Person Education has TWO KINDS OF LINKS:
an ITALICIZED LINK keeps you inside a page, moving you to another part of it, and
 a NON-ITALICIZED LINK opens another page.  Both keep everything inside this window, 
so your browser's BACK-button will always take you back to where you were.

 This homepage for Learning Skills,
written by Craig Rusbult, with cartoon by Frank Clark, is

All links on this page were checked-and-fixed on January 1, 2011.

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  LINKS for Areas of "Whole-Person Education" Website