You're in the middle of class, trying to stay focused. Before you know it, your eyes get droopy, and all of a sudden, you wake up like this:

Neil Patrick Harris suddenly waking up in a classroom. Are you losing interest? Are you staring at the clock, wanting for class to be over?

You can enhance your learning experience to avoid this situation. Creating a routine, participating in active learning, reaching out to your teachers, and collaborating with your classmates can make all the difference!

Integrate these 4 strategies for effective learning into your studies!

#1: Create a routine

A routineis a set of actions and behaviors that happen every day. Creating a routine for yourself is an effective strategy for learning because it will help you stay organized and maximize your attention toward a specific task. These routines include a school day routine and a study routine. What can these routines look like?

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A school day routine can look like this:

  • Come to class on time: Avoid being late by setting up an alarm that will give you enough time to get to school.

  • Put your devices away: Set aside your phone or laptop to minimize distractions.

  • Set up everything before class starts: Have all materials (pencil, notebook) ready before the bell rings so you are prepared for the lesson.

A study routine can look like this:

  • Create a study schedule: Commit to a study schedule so that you regularly practice the material. For example, you can dedicate time to study chemistry every Tuesday after school from 3:30-4:30 PM.

  • Organize notes: Make it a habit to review your notes after class to refresh your memory and see what you're still stuck on. This can help you figure out what you need to ask for help with.

Establishing a routine minimizes distractions and interruptions because you'll have an action plan to reach a specific goal. This will help you stay on track since you know what your next steps are, which will help you learn more effectively.

A woman says,

#2: Learn actively

Active learning engages you in the material beyond taking notes. This means discussing ideas, solving problems, and applying what you've learned. Active learning shows that you're paying attention and thinking deeply about the material. Flaticon Icon What does active learning look like?

  • Asking questions: Ask for clarifications and examples to understand the material better. You can also provide hypothetical scenarios to put your ideas to the test, such as: "I know that plants need water to survive. If I change the pH of the water, will it affect its ability to survive?"

  • Collaborating: Work with your classmates on group discussions and projects. You can also reach out to them outside of class to study together.

  • Teaching the material to others: Practice teaching the material to someone else. If you can explain the material well, you know you have a strong understanding of it.

  • Applying what you learned to the real world: Connect what you've learned to your everyday life. This helps you put the material in context and see how it works in the real world. For example, if you're learning about percentages in math class, see if you can calculate prices when there's a sale.

    A group of students raise their hands.

Learning actively will enhance your learning as it encourages you to think independently and show your understanding of the material in different ways.

Active learning is effective because when you apply and communicate what you know in various ways, you go beyond memorization. You have the opportunity to test new ideas and share your thoughts with others.

#3: Reach out to your teacher

It's important to reach out when you need support or clarification. Open communication is an effective strategy for learning because it lets your teacher know how you're progressing so that they can provide the resources and support you need to succeed. Flaticon Icon What are the benefits of reaching out to the teacher? You can...

  • Ask for help: If you're stuck on something, reaching out and asking questions will clarify your understanding of the material. Your teacher may provide additional resources or tutoring to support you.

  • Ask for challenges: If you feel ready to take it to the next level, you can ask for extra credit or how the material applies to the real world. Teachers love to see their students dive deeper into the content!

A person writing down

#4: Collaborate with your classmates

Collaboration is an opportunity for you to share what you know with others. According to Cornell University, the benefits of learning collaboratively include exposing you to different ideas, helping you think more critically by sharing and explaining what you know, and building your confidence in the material.

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You can work with your peers in and out of the classroom by:

  • Studying the material together so you can ask each other questions

  • Collaborating in group projects and class activities

  • Teaching the material to each other to see how well you know the content

Collaboration is an effective learning strategy, as you learn a lot more than content from your peers, such as teamwork and organization. Working with others increases communication and problem-solving skills as you practice breaking down information to reach a goal.

A group of students jumps up and high-fives each other. The text reads:

Quiz: School Assignment

You, Marie, Kyle, and Linh are the last students who need partners for a reading assignment. The goal of the assignment is to write and present a report about a character's motivations in a story.

You tend to get distracted in class. You also prefer speaking and presenting the material.

Of the students below, who would you best be able to collaborate with?

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  • Known to be chatty

  • Prefers researching and writing

  • Tends to miss class a lot

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  • Usually works independently

  • Prefers speaking and presenting

  • Reads at an accelerated level

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  • An English language learner

  • Prefers researching and writing

  • Often takes leadership roles


Which student would work best for you to pair with?

Take Action

When you're part of the learning experience — not just memorizing information — you create meaning for yourself!

Establishing a routine, learning actively, reaching out to your teachers, and collaborating with your classmates are smart moves that can make the learning process more effective, engaging, and meaningful for you. Ready to make the most out of the next lesson?

A man says, Use these techniques to enhance your learning:


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