Dear Students, if you would like to improve your ability to learn, you should read this article called “Strengthening the Student Toolbox” by Professor John Dunlosky, published in the American Educator. The article synthesizes an enormous volume of cognitive psychology and education research to present and explain the 10 most effective learning strategies. These strategies are listed below, and an explanation of each is provided in the original article; the strategies can be used by anyone and do not require computer-driven tutors. The effectiveness of these strategies was typically determined by improved performance on tests. While formal testing will diminish after college, informal testing remains part of life so take these strategies with you post-college. You will be most effective if you can recall pertinent information for your life of work or leisure.

Top 10 Learning Strategies:

  1. Practice testing: self-testing or taking practice tests on to-be-learned material.
  2. Distributed practice: implementing a schedule of practice that spreads out study over time.
  3. Interleaved practice: implementing a schedule of practice that mixes different kinds of problems, or a schedule of study that mixes different kinds of material, within a single study session.
  4. Elaborative interrogation: generating an explanation for why an explicitly stated fact or concept is true.
  5. Self-explanation: explaining how new information is related to known information, or explaining steps taken during problem solving.
  6. Rereading: restudying text material again after an initial reading.
  7. Highlighting and underlining: marking potentially important portions of to-be-learned materials while reading.
  8. Summarization: writing summaries (of various lengths) of to-be-learned texts.
  9. Keyword mnemonic: using keywords and mental imagery to associate verbal materials.
  10. Imagery for text: attempting to form mental images of text materials while reading or listening.

Illustration for article by John Dunlosky in American Educator, fall 2013,

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