Study Strategies for Experiential Learning

One of the most difficult adjustments to make during the transition from high school to college is identifying and implementing effective study activities. Because of the nature of high school, and the role of teachers as “facilitators of student understanding,” many students have not had to develop rigorous study activities to be academically successful. 

However, as a college student, you are now responsible for “facilitating your understanding” of challenging course material. Understanding the natural process through which we learn will help you develop the necessary study activities to achieve your academic goals. In short, learning involves a cycle of four phases--thinking, doing, experiencing, and watching. 

Although each of us might prefer one or two of these activities over the others, in order to achieve optimal learning, you must actively engage in each phase. Below are brief descriptions and sample activities for each phase along with links to other online resources. 

  • Thinking. The formation of abstract concepts and ideas by attending class, recitation and pre-reading assigned texts. 
  • Doing. Application or test of concepts and ideas through activities such as doing homework/practice problems, going to SI sessions or faculty office hours, or meeting with a peer tutor or classmate. 
  • Experiencing. Experience the concept or idea in a concrete way such as watching a demonstration of the concept or seeking out real world applications of the concept or idea. The Internet is a great tool for this activity. 
  • Watching. Observation of and reflection on the concept, idea and experience. Take in different perspectives to fill gaps in your knowledge by studying with friends, going to an SI session or meeting with a peer tutor, or engaging with your professor or TA during office hours. 

For more information on the learning process and study strategies, check out this short video or Tips for Academic Success. You can also meet with an Academic Support Resources staff member to receive additional assistance developing these skills.