As readers of this book, you are a diverse group with varied backgrounds and goals. Some of you are beginning your education at a college or university, whereas others of you have selected community colleges. Some of you may have taken college courses last term, whereas others are returning to school after an absence. Some of you are taking a learning and study skills course because it is required, whereas others are enrolled in the course as an elective. Some of you are looking forward to taking the course, whereas others may doubt its usefulness. Although I recognize the wide range of interests, motivation, and abilities of those of you reading this book, I have one goal: to help all those who read this volume become more successful learners. Once you learn "how to learn," you can apply these skills to any academic or work setting in which you participate.
Who is a successful learner? Most of us know, read about, or have observed successful and expert individuals in some field or profession (e.g., a plumber, musician, athlete, teacher, or artist). These individuals have special knowledge and skills in a particular field. Similarly, successful learners also possess special knowledge and skills that differentiate them from less successful learners.
Successful students are not simply individuals who know more than others. They also have more effective and efficient learning strategies for accessing and using their knowledge, can motivate themselves, and can monitor and change their behaviors when learning does not occur.
Just as individuals cannot learn to become expert musicians, dancers, or golfers without practice, learning to be a successful learner requires more than simply reading and listening to class lectures. For this reason, you will