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Locks and Keys

The Keys

While teaching and learning are complex processes, and individuals can differ on what "works" for them, there are actually some fundamental principles that are consistent with how ALL of our minds work. Cognitive and social science, and experience from real world learning situations, have produced a body of evidence-based principles that should be the foundation to any approach to learning. These pages are an attempt to simply explain these principles to students and provide guidance for practical implementation. These are your keys to learning.

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NOTE: The pilot phase of Unlocking the Learning Code concluded in Spring 2017. No new text messages are currently being sent. To register your interest in future text messages complete this form.

For information on findings and recommendations from the pilot project, contact Rich James 614-287-2175.

Example text messages:

After class or reading a chapter, don’t just summarize what you learned, ask yourself questions about it.

Work backward from exam dates to space study of a topic so the time between study increases as the exam gets closer.

Visuals are great memory aids. Organize terms, events, procedures, concepts in charts to help make a mental map of knowledge.

The Locks: Limiting beliefs about learning

Many of us have false beliefs about our capacity to learn and how to study. Below are some that may be getting in the way of your success.

  • Intelligence is fixed and can't be changed.
  • Reviewing and re-reading are effective study methods
  • Believe one can’t learn well in non-preferred learning style
  • Massed study (single subject-focused or cramming) is effective
  • Highlighting text is effective
  • If learning feels easy then material has been taught and learned well
  • “People like me typically aren’t good at ….” Implicit beliefs and stereotypes about ability
  • Failure to regularly self-assess what one knows

This video by former National Professor of the Year, Dr. Stephen Chew, of Samford University, describes some of the most common bad habits and beliefs that undermine learning.

  • Surface or performance learning orientation: Learn for the grade.
  • Expect "to be taught," rather than make effort to recall, apply, generate and practice.
  • Overconfidence in multitasking



How solid are your study skills?

Take this four question quiz from the American Psychological Association. Then explore this site to learn more.