Many textbooks are available on how to become a more successful learner. As an instructor of a "learning to learn" course, I have been concerned that many students who take such a course to improve their learning and study skills fail to change their behavior during or after the course. I strongly believe that simply telling students how to learn and providing some practice does not necessarily change attitudes, beliefs, or behavior. Changing ineffective learning and study habits is a difficult process, as is losing weight or stopping smoking.
This textbook is the result of an instructional program I developed and evaluated with a wide range of college students from those identified as "at risk" to those entering college with a "B" or higher grade point average. I have used the approach presented in this text with students in high school, community college, and 4-year colleges.
The primary purpose of this text is to help students change aspects of their motivation and learning strategies. I place the responsibility for determining what behaviors or beliefs need to be changed on them, not on the instructor. The process of change begins by observing and reflecting on one's own behavior and then determining what needs to be changed and learning how to change. The features of this textbook are designed to identify the components of academic learning that contribute to high achievement, help students learn and practice effective learning and study strategies, and then complete self-management studies whereby they are taught a process for improving their academic behavior.
First, I identify six components that students need to control to become successful learners -- motivation, methods of learning, time management, physical and social environment, and performance. These components serve as