Study and Learning


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Summary: Learning Plan

Your plan for success in education requires planning.

Here is a summary of suggestions to formulate the plan:

  • Develop a personalized, detailed study plan that includes methods for filtering large amounts of new information received each day.

  • Develop a specific, personalized plan for approaching, reviewing and preparing for examinations, with short-term and long-term strategies.

  • Develop self-appraisal and introspection with metacognition techniques in transitioning through your curriculum. How am I doing and what do I need to be doing?

  • Seek out mentors to assist you, just as the best athletes seek out the best coaches.

  • Revise the plan on the basis of sound data and good advice. Don't get discouraged and don't give up.


Behavior Patterns in the Process of Learning
AttributePoorBest
Cognition Compartmentalized knowledge of isolated facts, and unorganized fragments of data Take bits of information and consolidate them into useful, networked, integrated knowledge
Metacognition Cannot distinguish accuracy from error; over-assesses one's own abilities Can accurately self-assess the quality of one's own performance and make corrections
Learning Methodology Passive mode listening to others speak Active mode assessing data, making decisions, and explaining thinking
Curriculum Structure Silos of autonomous subject matter Integration across subject areas
Feedback Overconfident; avoids feedback; does not learn from feedback unless it is very precise and constant; does not learn from observing others Knows limitations; seeks feedback for self-monitoring; confidence related to actual abilities; learns from observing others
Study Environment Distractions present; dim lighting; reclining posture Quiet surroundings; good lighting; upright posture
Maturity Doesn't stick to plans or has no plan; underestimates time for task completion; blames others for shortcomings; gives up easily Sets priorities and sticks to them; allocates time to finish tasks; takes responsibility for problems; persistent
Psychological Primarily concrete thinking; poor impulse control; defensive and avoids criticism; low expectations Can think abstractly; good impulse control; confident enough to receive critique; high expectations
Study Methods Overly passive with just reading; inefficient with distractions; dysfunctional study groups focused on socializing; becomes easily and frequently mentally exhausted Active with annotation and quizzing; asks questions; keeps up with assigned material; still mentally alert in afternoon and evening
Social Interactions Associates with poor students or nonstudents; often a 'loner' out of any support structure; difficulty making decisions alone Networks with many good students; self-reliant
Attitudes About Learning Lacks initiative; lethargic and indifferent; doesn't grasp the concept of learning requirements; doesn't value expertise Motivated and enthusiastic; has a developed self-concept as a learner and identifies the tasks required for learning; seeks out student-teacher interaction
Personal Habits Poor diet and lack of exercise; disturbed sleep patterns; substance abuse Balanced diet; exercise plan; gets enough sleep; avoids drug use

Reference: Hendricson WD, Kleffner JH. Assessing and helping challenging students: Part One, Why do some students have difficulty learning? J Dent Educ. 2002 Jan;66(1):43-61.


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