Running head: A REFLECTION OF THE LEARNING STRATEGIES 1
A REFLECTION PAPER 4
The formation of effective study strategies is a crucial step in a student’s educational development. Students with higher self-regulatory behavior and high metacognitive abilities actively shape their learning process, evaluate the importance of the educational material, and have a clear understanding of their study attitudes and behavior. This paper will reflect on four categories of strategies that I have attempted this quarter, along with their outcome.
The first learning strategy I have attempted is the effective use of time – time management strategy. The link between effective use of time and performance is consistent with social-cognitive theory (Van Blerkom, 2011). The theory suggests that the accomplishment of a goal is depedent on the belief that one must have necessary skills to fulfill desired performance. Effective time management reduces academic frustration and its behavioral and physiological reactions. Cognitive reaction to academic-related stress increases with more effective time management. Effective use of time can be conceptualized through the setting of priorities and goals, the use of task lists, the preference to work in an organized environment, and the perceived control of one’s time (Van Blerkom, 2011). In college, time management can be measured as the difference between actual and planned time spent on homework, preparing for a quiz, writing a reflective journal, and other educational activities.
The time management strategy was successful in helping me learn to manage time through proper planning, implementing, and receiving responses on performance. Having reliable times to study has averted procrastination as well as created high awareness of my learning and improved academic performance. To attain good grades, I maintained daily logs of my goals, ensured a sense of control of my study environment, and kept the start and end time of their homework and study. The lower the discrepancy between actual and planned time, the more I can complete more assignments, garner better grades as compared to fellow students with higher differences. Bjork et al. (2013) found that using time assessments may help to capture individual contrasts which show areas that students are struggling with to employ effective self-regulatory interventions as well as prioritize the most challenging study topics. Planning is a crucial component of self-regulatory learning, especially in time management, hence helping students plan and assisting them to notice when they deviate from their plans might be a meaningful self-regulatory intervention. This learning strategy can be applied in group setting where people have to work on a single projects, Milestones can be assigned with specific deadlines where participants can be required to complete the tasks within a specified period. Time management strategy will come in handy because group members will set timelines in which to complete the projects within the set deadline. As such, time management setting is a useful strategy for the work environment.
The second strategy I have attempted in this class is active note-taking and active reading. Note-taking facilitates cognitive abilities responsible for learning both at the time learners take the notes, and when the notes are reviewed (Bui, 2015). The note-taking strategy was aimed at improving concept grasping, develop meaningful learning abilities, as well as enhancing the understanding of a topic. With note-taking, only verbatim notes can be captured. I have effectively used the outlining note-taking method when handling detailed study topics. It allows in-class notes to be neatly organized and structured with the use of headings and bullet points. Utilizing this note-taking technique has proved to be the right strategy in organizing topics such that it’s easier to see the relationship between topics and subtopics. It also makes it easy to turn points into study quizzes that enhance my revision for exams. Apart from that, an active reading strategy I have employed is highlighting. Highlighting is the practice of marking text aimed at helping one remember the marked portion of text selected better as well as make future reference to the study session more effective (Van Blerkom, 2011). From an internalizing perspective, the act of deciding what to highlight and texts not to mark leads students to process textual information at a deeper evaluative degree than merely reading the text. By reading through a paragraph, deciding what is essential, and then marking that information, I have performed better in tests than those who do not have the necessary skills in highlighting, meaning appropriate cognitive activity during highlighting enhances its benefits.
It is important to note, however, that highlighting strategy may not be feasible for those not accustomed to using a highlighter. Bui (2015) noted that the use of highlighters can interfere with the learning and limit one from employing encoding techniques that they find useful. For people without knowledge of its use, relying on highlighters may bring about an illusion of competence. The highlighted material may be processed in a manner that is less meaningful when re-reding. While re-reading, one may only maneuver to the marked text and assume that since the information had been previously highlighted, it is registered in the memory. As such, I discovered that highlighting as a technique in active reading could hamper memory for pertinent information and that is why I have always complemented this technique with note-taking. Active note-taking and active reading can be applied in a distributed study. There is a higher record of students performing better after spacing practice since the metacognitive illusion arises due to easier processing during the study, thus more fluency. For instance, the spacing of study activities by a 30-minute interval results in higher long-term retention despite the difficulty in the encoding (Yue et al., 2015). As such, I discovered that active reading goes hand in hand with time management because one has to know when to rest and digest information they have read.
The third strategy I attempted is motivation and goal-setting. The motivation process influences students’ acquisition, relay, and use of skills and knowledge. This approach takes a social-cognitive approach with its emphasis on specific meditating methods. However, the motivational approach relies on individual differences, as seen in every person’s skills and knowledge, or rather in their ability and behavior (Dweck, 1986). This strategy was not the right strategy to use in determining what topics I found interest and felt inclined to re-read or revise for my exams. As such, the motivation strategy relies on the use and growth of the meditative ability, which is heavily influenced by motivational factors. Hence, it did not successfully increase my learning efficiency and motivation towards learning. Together with motivation, I attempted a goal-setting strategy. The goal-setting process involves writing down a specific exam grade as one’s target goal, which creates awareness of progress towards the desired level of performance (Van Blerkom, 2011). The effective goal-setting process involved conceiving of my grades about the time that I spent to achieve the set standard, and activities I chose to partake in. For me, GPA is a long-term academic goal that is key in attaining motivating behavior. The goal-setting strategy was the right strategy as I was able to report my GPA goal weeks before the final exams as well as document motivational issues experienced as key in determining the difference between the actual GPA achieved and the target GPA.
Being an active performer requires allocating more time for studying than hanging out with peers, studying in a conducive environment, and working less with music playing in the background. The goal orientation strategy and task pursuit can be applied in the future by identifying learning activities that are fostered by goal-orientation. One way of ensuring this learning strategy goes a long way, is to apply or transfer knowledge and experiences one has acquired in the classroom to new tasks that are characterized by similar underlying principles. A performance goal focuses learners on cognitive abilities where, within this goal, the confidence of the student in their current ability must be high and must remain high if they are to settle on appropriate and challenging assignments and pursue them in remarkable ways. Keeping in mind that the focus on their abilities not only shatters their fragile confidence but could hinder successful learning outcomes. An unshakable orientation toward this goal can thus create a tendency to escape a challenge, to withdraw from it, or to show impaired performance in the face of difficulty.
The fourth strategy I have attempted this quarter is memory storage and retrieval strategies. The storage and retrieval process involves concentrating on the meaning and creating connections between newly acquired concepts and the concepts that are already known (Yue et al., 2015). Likewise, it consists of using technologies thant enhance memory storage and retrieval, including the use of collaborative interactions to ehnace the enconding as well as retrieval of this data and concepts. Besides acquiring a better grasp of memory storage and retrieval processes, I have effectively utilized this strategy to engage in activities that strengthen the safekeeping of new information and subsequent retrieval of the same information. Furthermore, understanding activities that enhance the learners memory as well as the transfer of their knowledge is a crucial asset. When applied to learning activities in spaced conditions, my study sessions in upcoming learning topics has increased my effectiveness as a learner (Van Blerkom, 2011). This has also imparted my knowledge on how to interleave as opposed to blocking, successive 30-minute interval study or practice sessions, how to vary the conditions of my learning environment and study context, versus keeping those conditions predictable and constant.
The memory storage and retrieval strategy is important for me as it could be applicable in different areas of study. As a lerner, I believe this is a crucial strategy for memorizing and utilizing information in cases where such information is needed. A good example would be in the examination room where a student is required to explain theories and concepts, and apply them in real life settings. Memory storage and retrieval process can also be useful in my work environment in future where I would be required to put my knowledge into practice. As such, it would be easier to solve real-life cases using the information I acquired in class, even many years after my graduation. As such, I believe memory storage and retrieval is a pertinent strategy for all learners to graps as it is applicable both in and out of classroom setting.
Out of the four strategies described in this paper, I found memory storage and retrieval to be the most interesting strategy. As mentioned, this is a crucial strategy that allows a learner to apply their knowledge in different settings, both in and out of classroom. When the student is able to store and retrieve information, then they will be in a position to tackle the problems they face, whether in a school or in their work environment.
Bjork, R., Dunlosky, J., & Kornell, N. (2013). Self-Regulated Learning: Beliefs, Techniques, and Illusions. Annual Review Of Psychology, 64(1), 417-444. doi: 10.1146/annurev-psych-113011-143823
Bui, D., & McDaniel, M. (2015). Enhancing learning during lecture note-taking using outlines and illustrative diagrams. Journal Of Applied Research In Memory And Cognition, 4(2), 129-135. doi: 10.1016/j.jarmac.2015.03.002
Dweck, C. (1986). Motivational processes affecting learning. American Psychologist, 41(10), 1040-1048. doi: 10.1037/0003-066x.41.10.1040
Van Blerkom, D. (2020). College study skills: Becoming a strategic learner (7th ed.). Boston: Cengage Learning.
Yue, C., Storm, B., Kornell, N., & Bjork, E. (2015). Highlighting and Its Relation to Distributed Study and Students’ Metacognitive Beliefs. Educational Psychology Review, 27(1), 69-78. doi: 10.1007/s10648-014-9277-z