How We Learn

This week's lecture is divided into three parts. You will need to refer back to your coursepack section on Study Skills which starts on page 76. Be sure to read everything carefully and do each of the class Quick Trips + Assignments. These are part of your course lecture. Always refer back to the course outline to check for assignments that must be turned in to me. An updated outline can be found in the Course Information section.



PART II: Working with your Memory


PART III: Aiding your Memory with Efficient Notetaking Techniques


This week you will be doing a lot of self-evaluation about how you learn and how you view yourself as a student/learner. You will need to think critically in response to the lecture questions and assignment.

Have fun! Remember to email me with any questions you might have.



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DIRECTIONS:  Before you begin working on this chapter,read the following statements.  Check off statements on the Anticipation guide that you agree (A) or Disagree (D).

When I want to remember what I read, I definitely make a conscious effort to try to remember
I try to remember everything I read.
When I study, I try to remember only a few facts at a time. 
I try to associate new information that I want to remember with things I already know.
I try to organize information from the textbook by taking notes.
I always review my notes.
I take breaks when I’m studying.  I don’t try to learn everything at once.
I always seem to study the night before a test.  I usually have to cram.
I try to think of little memory tricks to help me learn new information.

Goals:  By the time you have finished this lesson you should be able to:

  1. Evaluate your abilities as a student.
  2. Understand how you learn best – as an auditory, visual, or kinesthetic learner.
  3. Understand the importance of how time spaced learning works with your memory.
  4. Work with your memory to help you learn new material.
  5. Develop strategies to aide your memory.
  6. Take a good set of notes that aide your memory.
  7. Know how to set up an efficient study environment.
  8. Organize a study group for each of your classes.

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Part I:  Understanding What Effects your Learning?

It’s always a good idea to do some kind of self evaluation during each academic semester. Stop to think about what your life goals are on a personal, academic, and vocational level.  At the start of this semester you filled out a worksheet to evaluate your long range goals.  You were asked to answer: What will you be doing in five years?  What will you be doing in 10 years?  What are some accomplishments you view with pride up to this point in your life?

Have you ever thought about what steps it takes to reach our goals? Additionally, when you think about your academic life and plan for your success as a student, do you know how to learn? What is your learning style? Do you know your strengths as well as your weaknesses as a student? How can you work with these? How do you learn new information? How can you best work with your memory? 

Evaluating how you learn and what you expect from your college experience, can help keep you on the right track from the first day of classes.  As your semester progresses, continue to think about these goals – you might find you want to change or redefine them.

Goal-awareness is something you have to keep paying attention to, not just something you think about occasionally.  College is similar to a business environment in that, you are expected to be organized and work effectively and efficiently.  To keep you organized you want to learn what is expected of you and plan how you will be able to accomplish this.  Don’t allow yourself to fall into the trap of  “suddenly realizing you’re behind, trying to cram more into a day than can fit, telling yourself you have more time than you do, stretching yourself beyond limits and then collapsing with stress.  That’s where time budgeting helps! Plan ahead.

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As part of your self-evaluation, you should know how you learn best so you can increase your opportunities for success in school.  You will then be able to develop your learning/study plan. 

Have you ever thought abut the type of learner you are? Do you learn new ideas best by writing the information down, by taking notes? Then you would be called a tactile learner. The tactile/kinesthetic learner learns best with the physical act of writing down new information or being physically involved with the new material.


Perhaps you can listen intently to a lecture or video and only need to write a few key words down to help you remember the lecture’s content?  You may be an auditory learner. Seeing information helps the auditory learner understand new material better. 


Do remember information more if you see it written on the board or shown on an overhead projector?  Do you enjoy looking at map, charts, or pictures?  In this instance, then perhaps you are a visual learner. The visual learner needs to see information written before it can be processed mentally.


Let's find out what type of learner you are. There are several Learning Styles questionnaires you can take to find this out. Proceed to the QUICK TRIPS to take two learning styles inventories.



1.  Take the VARK Learning Styles Inventory to get information about how you learn:


When you are done - HIT THE BACK BUTTON    on your Browser.


2. Take the Barsch Learning Styles Inventory by clicking on the link below.  You will need to print out the form on the Web page first before you can answer the questions.  Your answers can not be saved at the Website.


When you are done - HIT THE BACK BUTTON ON  

your Browser to return to this page.


Now compare your two scores from the two inventories. Did you score the same for your learning styles? What type of learner are you: visual, auditory, or tactile? Hold onto your scores and evaluation. You will need them for an assignment later in this section of the lecture.















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Welcome Back – Let’s see what your scores mean.

There are typically three different types of learning styles that work in conjunction with your senses – seeing (visual), hearing (auditory), and touching (tactile or kinesthetic). 

Learning Style: What it means:


If you are a visual learner you need to use the charts, maps, graphs, and pictures presented in your textbooks. 

Take advantage of films or videos shown in class, as well as notes the instructor may write on the board.

Reviewing your notes and making flashcards will help you remember information.   Mapping would be an excellent form of notemaking for you.  It is visual presentation of showing the main ideas and important details (we’ll discuss mapping in another lecture).

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This type of learner masters information best by listening.  You can listen to a lecture intently and easily remember what you hear (you still need to take notes), but take a seat in the front of the room so you can focus on what an instructor is saying without being distracted.

After you read a text section or chapter, summarize or review the information out lout so you can hear it.  Tape-record your reviews.

You are someone who would do well with a study group.  This would allow you to take advantage of discussing with, and listening to, other students while you review for a test.

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Take notes on both your textbook readings and lecture material.


You may need to write facts down several times, in several different ways, when studying for a test. Make an outline or map of the information and then create a chart (we’ll discuss these forms of notetaking next week).


Always keep a notepad nearby so that you can write down information you want to remember for later use.

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The learning styles inventories should be used in conjunction with other diagnostic tools you’ll be experimenting with in this class.  You are the primary judge of you own learning.  Use the information you find out about in these surveys or inventories with learning strategies that have worked for you in the past.  The more of your senses you make use of when studying, the easier learning becomes.


In your coursepack turn to pages 108-116 to fill out the learning styles inventories. In addition to discovering how you learn, you will also find which side of your brain affects your learning more, and your preference for studying. Compare these scores with your scores from the previous QUICK TRIPS. Then follow the directions for the essay in the coursepeack.

Before we look at some study techniques to help you become a better learner, it’s important that you understand what it means to learn and what part memory plays in your ability to learn.

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click here for Topic Two: Memory