Changing Your Beliefs About Learning

You’ve learned about the components that make your learning beliefs, now see what you can do to change them.

-Be aware of you beliefs. If you have beliefs that are getting in the way of your learning, consider changing them. However, before you can change a belief, you must first be unsatisfied with your current beliefs about learning. When you find yourself giving up on a task too quickly or trying to merely memorize when you need to understand and apply difficult concepts, you can reflect on your beliefs, rethink your approach, and take time to really learn the information.
-Look for the “big picture”. Instead of memorizing a lot of separate facts, make a conscious effort to relate ideas to what you already know and to other ideas discussed in class.
-Learn to live with uncertainty. It is sometimes difficult to accept that there are no right answers to some questions.
-Don’t compare your “ability” with others. Worrying that you are not as good as your roommate in math will not get you anywhere. Focus instead on how to improve your ability to learn in the subjects that you find difficult. You can find a tutor or work with or form a study group to help you learn. It may take you longer to get there, but remember that college learning is more like an endurance sport than a spring.
-Realize that learning takes time. If you begin your assignments with the expectation that they will take time to fully understand and complete, you are likely to experience less frustration and more understanding. Don’t expect to learn complex concepts the first time that you encounter them. Instead, plan to spread out your study time so you can review difficult material several times.

Excerpt from College Success Strategies by Sherrie L. Nist and Jodi Patrick Holschuh.


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