2021 LSAC National Conference

On May 19, 2021, I was honored to provide two workshops for the Learning Specialists Association of Canada’s annual national conference. Having been the conference Keynote speaker in 2015, it was great connecting with many of my colleagues from the north and beyond! (You can download the sessions’ materials and leave a comment below.)Session I Trench Data: Data that matter …

Instruction Amplified

Teaching shouldn’t be so hard! On a basic level, the teaching and learning enterprise is built upon two conditional assurances. Teachers want to know that if they teach students, then students will work to learn the material. Students want to know that if they do the work, then they will be rewarded with good grades. When these assurances aren’t met, …

Why Bad Thinking Happens

There are two types of academic challenges students face in college: Type I and Type II.Type I problems are challenges of effort. In these situations, students aren’t very studious. They don’t show up for class. They don’t study. And they don’t read. In most cases, students with Type I problems are not serious-minded learners.Type II problems are transfer of learning …

Unequal Competence: The Gap Between Passing and Learning

My recent discoveries suggest that “good students” — those with decent skills and who work hard — enjoy consistent academic success in settings with two distinct academic conditions. Fortunately for them, many courses have these conditions. This post shares the two conditions and includes quotes from students who learned to learn when these conditions are not met. Ideally, confidence flows …

Transforming Academic Divers into Academic Strivers: Building Academic Endurance

Going to college is no trivial matter, but succeeding in college is an entirely different challenge. Why does college make some students but break others? This article shares an effective strategy you can use to transform students’ struggles into successes. When students begin college, they automatically try to use the skills that got them into college to get them through …

Academic Divers, Strivers and Thrivers: Metacognitive Learner Profiles

Click image to enlarge.In the current environment of hyper-segmentation, it can seem impossible for instructors and learning center professionals to know what college students need to succeed. We seem infatuated with sub-dividing students into increasingly smaller and smaller cohorts. This myopic perspective blinds us from seeing the commonalities among students, and prevents us from finding solutions that stretch across academic …

3 Essential Learning Skills that Guarantee Academic and Career Success

Have you ever wondered which learning skills are indispensable for student success? I guess our answer to this question hinges upon how we define student success. When I think of student success, I imagine students whose skills cut across academic disciplines. To me, successful students don’t just pass tests; they absorb the essence of a course. Yes, they know their …

Eliminating Academic-Related Retention Problems (Part II): The Biggest Problem Students Face

Preventing pervasive academic problems. A large share of student underperformance and failure is rooted in one specific type of academic work: constructive learning. This post uses a true story to share what constructing knowledge entails.The best way to solve a widespread problem is to identify an issue that affects the most people and solve that issue. Once you take a …

How to Eliminate Academic-Related Retention Problems: Introducing the AP3

In the early 1900s, Frank and Lillian Gilbreth carefully observed thousands of bricklayers at work. The Gilbreths saw that each craftsman had developed his own peculiar way of operating. They noticed that the bricklayers did not always use the same motion as they positioned one brick after another. The Gilbreths quickly recognized that bricklaying was fraught with inefficient movements, and …

Help Students Avoid the Failure-Frustration Cycle

In this post, you will benefit from: Learning research suggesting most students (66%) don’t leave college for financial reasons. Discovering how and why students hide their real reasons for leaving school.  Viewing an illustration of the failure-frustration cycle. Watching a short video clip of a student telling his story of escaping the failure-frustration cycle, allowing him to flourish in school. Have you ever felt …