3 tips for learning at university

3 tips to research on learning

Research on learning has many tips for learning in college.

We would like to limit ourself to three tips.

The first tip is that you have to be active yourself, and relatively more often than you think, because the course does not provide for it.

So you can also let yourself be carried away by a mere lecture.

The point is that the learning activity not only determines whether you understand the content, but also whether you can apply it afterwards.

And so the recommendation: think of learning activities that actually have a higher value than just peeking or being tested, but try to transport yourself to problem situations, solve problems and then discuss these problems with others if necessary and find points of criticism.

My second tip is to get good feedback if you don’t get it yourself, i.e. feedback from lecturers, feedback from fellow students, from tutors.

Often you get so-called task-related feedback, that is, you get the information whether the solution is right or wrong – or you get a grade.

This is usually not helpful for further learning. There are also useful contexts for this feedback.

But in reality another type of feedback is needed, which is actually directed at process and problem solving or knowledge application.

Let them also give you hints like “Look, here you have used this concept, but you should have used the other one”. Or you shouldn’t have used this one yet, but you should have used this methodology over there.

So that’s, so to speak, one direction of the feedback and the second one is they give you hints, what should I actually do if I’ve mastered this?

So, I did well, there is no criticism of my approach: what would be the exercises that I could do now or the problems that I could work on now so that I could progress with my level of competence, so to speak.

And a third thing is that you work with others and don’t do it spontaneously, but think about it a little bit.

Teachers encourage discussions, so to speak, by doing “breakout rooms” and saying “Now you have 20 minutes, you should discuss this” and not giving any other hints.

And here your alarm bells should go off, so to speak, and say that in these – typical – cooperations it is a waste of time.

Sometimes not – but most of the time – there are one or two people sitting in the small group who don’t contribute much either, maybe they don’t even understand exactly what it’s all about.

Therefore, a structure must be put in place to ensure that all those involved can contribute, either equally or according to their prior knowledge.

And that the level of discussion is really of such a level of activity that it also goes beyond what is offered in the lecture or in the courses.

So: give it a structure and take 2 or 3 minutes at the beginning:

How do we want to proceed so that everyone is well involved, so that the level of discussion is really high?

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