Among recent reports on learning techniques, the definitive study was written by James Dunlosky, from Kent State University, and colleagues. They carried out an extensive review of the literature on learning techniques in which they evaluated ten commonly used learning techniques. Annie Murphy Paul, writing for time ideas, noted that professor Dunlosky felt that highlighting the material in the textbook, rereading and summarizing the material were not helpful techniques. the two most helpful techniques to enhance your learning are spreading your study time over several sessions, and practice testing.
Two college websites have offered more practical information on study techniques to enhance your learning. Chadron State College in Nebraska presents a list of “ten study methods that work,” and Cuesta College in California offers “Ten Steps to Improving Your Study Skills.”
The following list of best of the best tips for improving your learning has been compiled from this list and paper by Dr. Dunlosky. It is also based on the personal experience of the author of this article, who has been both a student and a teacher for a large part of her life, sometimes concomitantly.
1. Set aside a time each day for study when you will not be disturbed. do not wait until the last minute to cram for an exam.
2. Chose an uncluttered, calm setting for your studies. Make sure that you have assembled everything you need: pencils, pens, erasers, and such.
3. Keep a well-organized notebook and take good classroom notes. A messy notebook, or worse than that – loose notes and no notebook – is not conducive to learning.
4. Reread your notes and the text frequently. Repetition of the material reinforces your knowledge.
5. Highlight your text and your notes, regardless of the findings of Dr. Dunlosky and colleagues. highlighting in multiple colors is often helpful.
6. Use file cards. record each point on a file card, with a question or a term on the front of the card and the answer on the back.
7. Practice tests are helpful. Practice, practice, practice.
8. Study the material over a period of time.
9. Take small breaks throughout your study session.
10. Get enough rest. Never study when tired and sleepy.
Good luck in your studies. I wish you well.