Skills for learning: a day in the life of a college student

Cheri MacLeod, Paula Hayden


The learning skills used by students at a technical college to fully participate in their classes were the focus of this investigation. Researchers shadowed two full-time students for one full day as they each went to their classes in a technical college in Qatar. An observation schedule was used to record what students did in their classes (for example: solve problems, listen to the teacher, ask questions). At the end of the day students were interviewed and asked to comment on the importance of the learning skills that they used, how they built the skills they needed and how to become a better student. It was found that students used a variety of learning skills throughout a typical day and that they had their own ideas about learning. The learning skills the two students used most during their classes were not the same, owing partly to the format of the courses and partly to personal learning approach. The four learning skills students identified as most important were: understand and apply concepts to current work; concentrate and maintain focus; follow written instructions; and ask questions. The information gathered in this investigation can be used to inform students, instructors and course planners about the skills students need to be active participants in their classes and to ensure that educators support the development of required learning skills.


learning skills; student success

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