The content of learning is a combination of what you already know (prior knowledge), new knowledge presented in the courses you are taking, and skills that enable you to develop understanding and connect the new material with your prior knowledge.

This chapter discusses skills that can help you master the role of a student, or learner. Like anything new, these skills need practice and will become more habitual over time. These skills are also essential to the larger process of learning that will allow you to change and grow in your career and throughout your life.

You are the essential component in your own process of learning. Your professors will teach course material, but ultimately whether and how much you learn depends on what you choose to do. As you continue to master the learning process, you will gain confidence as you recognize your strengths as a college student. Identifying and learning how to use these strengths while also honestly evaluating what you need to improve will help you excel in college and will also help you develop learning strategies that will transfer to life after college.

Skills That Can Help You Build Knowledge

Each semester presents opportunities to learn what is presented in classes and course materials. Each new course is a chance to gain knowledge and make connections to what you already know.

The knowledge-building skills that will allow you to take advantage of these learning opportunities include studying, mathematical reasoning, reading, writing, collaborating, and reflecting.

Exercise 3.1: Connecting skills and knowledge

Look again at the syllabus for each of your classes, paying special attention to the learning objectives and class topics outlined in these documents.

Make a list: What are you most interested in? What do you think will be valuable to learn?



Now divide your list into Knowledge and Skills. So, let’s say you’re taking COMD 101: Graphic Design Principles I and you’re interested in learning how to create effective advertisements for your small business. What skills will you need to achieve this goal? Writing? Coding? Drawing? Could the skills you’re developing in your English class or your Computer Science class help support the learning you want to achieve in Graphic Design?

What are the connections between the knowledge you want to gain and the skills your classes will help you to develop?



Click to download a fillable document: Exercise 3.1: Connecting Skills And Knowledge



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