Study skills should be developed within subject contexts
Study skills are important- they support students in their approach to their work. In the post-16
sector there is an expectation at A-level for example that students will be independent learners,
that they will follow up their classroom studies with 4-5 hours of private study at
home, that they can make notes, draw graphs, structure essays etc.
The reality is that they probably can’t. They have likely been spoon-fed plenty of
GCSE exam-related facts by teachers worried about success rates, and the higher
order study and organisational skills that A-level teachers expect typically exist
by chance rather than by design.
The achievement gauge below shows Hattie’s reported effect size for study skill
development in students:
Hattie questions whether typical ‘Learning to Learn’ programs that are delivered outside of an
academic subject are of any real value. He states that, “Strategy training needs to be embedded in
the teaching context itself”.
Hattie goes on to explore the work of Robbins et al (2004). They defined four principles that should
be followed when considering an approach to embedding study skills into a program:
Guide learners into preparing an effective environment for learning
Ensure that in the delivery of individual courses, students learn cognitive skills (eg note
taking, summarizing, data analysis etc) and meta-cognitive skills (planning, performance
monitoring, reflection etc).
Present goals and feedback in relation to those goals to allow students to monitor their own
Give learners continuous evaluation information in addition to embedded opportunities for
students to self-evaluate their own performance and progress.
Hattie reports the results of a PhD thesis published in 2008 that examined the effect sizes of
various self-regulated approaches to learning. High effect sizes are ascribed to such study skills as:
planning before essay writing (d=0.85)
judging work prior to submission using success criteria (d=0.62)
Taking class notes (d=0.59)
Memorisation strategies (d=0.57)
Planning the completion of a task over a time period (d=0.49)
Reading ahead in a text book before the lesson (d=0.49)
Making mnemonics (d=0.45)
Timetabling the use of free time for homework and independent study (d=0.44)
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So... examine the evidence
So... adopt evidence-based methods
So... enhance learning