Susan, thanks for your comments. I am happy to see that I evidently communicated my point adequately. I agree 100% that organization is helpful, but that "getting outside of the assignment" and seeing it only as it relates to learning is most important. I really enjoyed the example of the student you gave and my use it when working with the students here. 

I am not sure that I agree with the last statement "(I'm also thinking that if students really, honestly, *can't* perceive that "management" perspective, that they may be the ones whose limitations are at least somewhat more intrinsic)" because I have noticed the "management" perspective operating within students (unbeknownst to them of course) in various areas - athletics, musical, etc. I usually find out what hobbies students have learned and enjoy, then I help them see how they have employed most of the management skills in those domains. 

As an example, I have included the "What makes managing your learning better..." from the original email with the addition of a basic example that I use with students. I hope I can effectively communicate this in writing as well; I am not sure if the format is the same on your end as on mine.  

Again, I am interested in your (or anyone else's out there in "Learning Professional Land") thoughts!!!

What makes managing your learning better than living by the "hope so" approach? 

To reiterate an earlier point, the student who manages their learning is empowered because they can detect, and then fix problems in their learning process (before the actual test).  While the "hope so" student is unable to detect problems in their learning process, and consequently is powerless.  They are at the mercy of the "hope-so" god.  Thus we are back where we began: The student who manages their learning can study less and perform better than the "hope-so" student.  (It's just common sense!)

Convinced?  If you are, then perhaps your next question is: What does it take to manage learning? (I'm glad you asked!)

*       A clear understanding of your professors' expectations
If you are to be an effective manager, then you must know what the boss (your professor) expects of you.  Specifically, you need to know the degree to which your professor expects you to know the subject matter.  Most students fail here because their expectations are usually much lower than their professors.  How can one meet unknown expectations?  I have developed an entire workshop: Professors Are From Mars, Students Are From Venus: understanding your professors' expectations, to address this issue.
*       An understanding of, and distinction between, your responsibilities and those of your professors
Again, covered in the Professors Are From Mars...workshop.

Once you have the expectations clear, learning is then a matter of managing the various studying tasks along your learning process. The continuing bullets list what you need to know about this process, and the next section shows what the learning process entails.

*       A knowledge of the key factors involved in the learning process (as they relate to collegiate test preparation)
Managing your learning requires you to know your learning process.
*       An awareness of when you are actually learning something
*       The ability to assess what you have learned and what you may still need to learn
*       The ability to adjust learning to meet your goal

This may sound difficult, but it is more natural than you think.  In fact, after conducting hours of student interviews and assessments, I am convinced that practically every student possesses these skills and applies them on a daily basis.  However, they are unaware because they are being used in different areas of life.  

Managed Learning Analogy

I prefer working with students individually (or in small groups where they all have something in common such as a sport).  They are often surprised when I start our meeting off discussing non-academic things.  I usually begin by probing their past in  search for examples of past learning - playing video games, extracurricular activities, athletic endeavors, musical talents, all will do.  The whole time, while enjoying our conversation, I am making mental notes of things and ways they have learned.  I then pick a few things that they enjoy to demonstrate how they have already, unknowingly, used the skills it takes to learn in college in other areas in life, often times at a much younger age.  Together, we then select a subject of interest, and exam it to determine how they have learned what they currently know.  We then compare their former learning structure to the current structure that they are using in college.  By this time, the light has been turned on and the "aha's"  are flowing as the oddness of the way in which they are attempting to learn becomes apparent to them.  I then use several analogies and metaphors to help illustrate key points and connect cognitive dots.

I have used the following driving analogy when addressing larger groups of people to illustrate how the managed learning principles are used in everyday life.  Since everyone has traveled from one place to another, I will use taking a trip as our analogy.  Driving serves as a great analogy because like learning, in its simplest form, it gets us from point A to point B.  (The following bulleted points correspond with the above managed learning skills listed in the previous section.)

Let's say Susie wanted to visit her parents at the beach.  Her parents expect her to arrive by 12:00 p.m.  (The expectation - to arrive at the beach by 12:00 p.m.)

*       Her parents give her a map and gas money, and tell her to gas up the car, pick up her little brother and beach equipment, while they are responsible for the picking up food. (The understanding of, and distinction between, responsibilities - the parents are responsible for the food and Susie is responsible for gassing up the car, picking up her brother and the beach equipment.)
*       Susie is ultimately being tested on whether she can arrive at the beach by 12:00, having done all her parents asked of her.  The key factors involved in this learning process, or journey from point A to point B - (1) gassing up the car (2) picking up her brother (3) picking up the beach equipment (4) using the map

(Note: there are two implicit expectations and abilities that her parents assume of her - [1] to know how to read the map and [2] how to time everything so that she will arrive in time.  College professors have similar implicit expectations of students.  More about that later.)

She must be aware of progress she is making. (She is aware of this by the mile markers, exit signs, landmarks, etc that she passes along the way.  Each one assures her that she is getting closer to her destination [closer to passing her test]).

Susie may look at the map to locate her proximity to her destination.  (The assessment - how far she has come and how far she still needs to go.)

Susie realized that she might not make her goal; she may have taken a wrong turn or wasn't driving fast enough.  (Because she knows the ultimate expectations [what she will be test on], her responsibilities [what she must do], and can assess how far she is in the process of meeting the expectations, she can adjust to ensure that those expectation are met.

Susie has just demonstrated that she has the basic skill set to manage her learning.  By applying those basic skills to collegiate learning, she can be a successful student.

Leonard G. Geddes, Jr.
Director of Multicultural Student Services
& Student Success
Lenoir-Rhyne College
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(828) 328-7024

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