First, some things you should consider . . .



Principle of Desirable Difficulty:  Things should be at a certain level of difficulty to promote optimal learning situations

So if you think a course is tough, you will learn more.


Take notes:

When learning material is less clearly organized so the brain has to work to make sense of it, more learning occurs.

Studies have shown that those who take notes by hand have longer retention and more understanding than those who take notes by typing on a laptop.



We judge ourselves by what we feel capable of doing, while others judge us by what we have already done. -- Longfellow

Get inside the box, master it, then obliterate it from the inside out.




Choose it!!!


What are the other people around me doing?

What are the distractions?


That's ok, I can multi-task


Research shows:

  • You are not really multi-tasking, it is "task-switching."

MIT neuroscientist Earl Miller notes that our brains are "not wired to multitask well... when people think they're multitasking, they're actually just switching from one task to another very rapidly. And every time they do, there's a cognitive cost."

A study at the University Of London showed that subjects who multitasked while performing cognitive tasks experienced significant IQ drops.  Men are affected even more than women, dropping IQ as much as 15 points, essentially turning you into an 8-year-old.

  • Moving back and forth wastes productivity.  It takes more time to complete tasks when switching than if you do them one block at a time.

  • It slows you down

  • You make mistakes

  • It causes stress now and later (consequences of above)

  • Disrupts short-term memory



Eliminate distractions for blocks of time

Do one thing at a time



















Take a tip from Harry Potter




Don't just think it - ink it!









bulletStudies show increased retention with hand-written notes
bulletTaking non-verbatim handwritten notes + review = best outcome







The mark of good learning isnít that you got it right; itís that you canít get it wrong.







Understand what you don't understand.  "I understand up to this point . . ."

Mark the point during class that you cease to "get it."  Then get help right away.



15 minute rule:  when you get stuck, work hard to solve the problem for 15 minutes, documenting everything you do;

if you are still stuck, someone will know how to help you.

This is the process of critical thinking!!







Created and maintained by Vicky V. Johnson