Motivating effective study strategy use among undergraduate students




Wang, Lisi

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Undergraduate students often prefer the less effective study strategies in which they passively receive learning materials (e.g., rereading, highlighting or underlining) to the more effective study strategies in which they actively engage with learning materials (e.g., retrieval practice, elaboration). The ultimate goal of this set of studies was to help undergraduate students incorporate the more effective strategies into their own learning in order to become more productive with their time and effort. The solution integrated two perspectives of psychology: cognitive and educational. First, undergraduate students reflected on their study behaviors and the reasons for not engaging in the more effective strategies through an online survey (Study 1). Specifically, in addition to the metacognitive knowledge about how to use the more effective strategies, undergraduate students’ perceived cost in time and effort of using them mattered for deciding on which category of strategies to engage in. Second, with this information, I designed an asynchronous online intervention targeting lack of metacognitive knowledge and too much perceived cost, with the intention to promote flexible applications of one of the more effective strategies (i.e., retrieval practice) among undergraduate students (Study 2). The intervention was successful in improving metacognitive knowledge, but not in reducing perceived cost. Furthermore, a structural equation model revealed that intention to apply retrieval practice immediately post-intervention was positively predicted by metacognitive knowledge, while actual application three-weeks post-intervention was negatively predicted by perceived cost.


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