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Effective Learners

Findings from an Ako Aotearoa funded project conducted by:

  • Dr Vivienne Anderson
  • Ana Rangi
  • Esmay Eteuati
  • Dr Rob Wass
  • Assoc. Prof Clinton Golding
  • Rafaela Rabello

There are many ways of being an effective learner, and it is important to figure out (and do) what works for you. Our study findings suggest that:

1. Effective learners recognise their role in the teaching-learning partnership, and know what works for them. They prepare for and engage in class in ways that allow them to learn (for example, by reading course material and choosing to sit in a place that helps them stay focused). They also experiment with note-taking approaches to find what ‘works’ and feels comfortable, find and create study environments which allow them to both relax and focus, and actively seek out discussion and interaction as a strategic learning approach.

2. Effective learners focus on learning, rather than marks for their own sake. Effective learners conceptualise university study as a starting point, not an endpoint – as a ‘journey’ of discovery and exploration. Effective learners recognise the importance of time in the learning process. They understand that learning involves ‘sitting on’ information and ideas, and taking time to rest and to do things other than studying.

3. Effective learners remember where they have come from and where they are going. They keep their short and long-term goals in mind, and stay connected to people who can encourage them in the learning journey, including family, friends, classmates and teachers.

Everyone has a different way of learning and there’s no one right way for everyone, or for every paper you’re studying. View the information in the section below to get ideas on how to strengthen your skills, and develop new ones.

Study strategies

In order to ensure that you do well at university, you need to develop good study skills.

Subject-specific skills

Learn about the skills specific to the course you are taking.

Effective learning style

Forming good study habits can help you ‘stick’ with your studies and achieve satisfactory grades in your first year and beyond.