Teaching Students How to Learn

Awardees: Brendan Kelly, Robin Gottlieb, Caroline Junkins, Logan McCarty, Sindhumathi Revuluri, Martin Samuels (FAS)

Summary: Awardees will develop an interdisciplinary STEM initiative that will enable instructors to incorporate explicit lessons to teach their students how to study and learn both inside and outside of the classroom.

This cross-functional team from the Faculty of Arts and Sciences aims to form an initiative that will build capacity to teach students metacognitive learning strategies. Research has shown that teaching students how to study- rather than assuming the students pick these skills up implicitly- improves grades and reduces achievement gaps in science, technology, engineering, and math. Awardees aim to make STEM concentrations more inclusive and accessible to a broader range of students and will use the principles of Teach Students How to Learn and Universal Design Learning to identify barriers and proactively plan for learner vulnerability.

The long-term goal is to increase the retention rate of students graduating in a STEM concentration. This group will approach this by: assembling a working Educator Team who will meet regularly to construct ways to interweave the development of metacognitive skills into their courses; train peer mentors to teach others to study and learn effectively; and assess the effectiveness of the interventions.

By the end of the grant cycle they hope to develop a ready-made Canvas “tab” that can be included in any course website and will provide links to readings and/or videos about metacognitive skills and related activities, write a research paper detailing the interventions and assessment, and provide an internal report for Harvard faculty interested in incorporating this approach into their courses.