Habits Skills Strategies

What is the difference between Study Habits, Study Skills and Study Strategies?

For some reason, most people understand the difference between a habit, a skill and a strategy but have difficulty separating them when talking about study.Young woman is playing a violine.

 After you learn a habit, you do it almost automatically. If you make your bed each morning, you could call it a good habit. If you leave dirty clothes on the floor, that’s a bad habit.

You develop skills gradually and with practice.  Swimming, cooking,  playing musical instruments and reading are all skills.

Tatiana quickly learned the habit of tucking the violin beneath her chin and lifting her bow. But it took years of instructions and endless hours of practice for her to develop her skills.

A Strategy or Method is a procedure you use to reach a goal. Football players improve skills like running, throwing, catching or kicking the ball. They plan different strategies to work together and reach their goal.

What are Study Habits?

A habit is something like brushing your teeth. You may need to learn the habit but them you do it regularly. You can learn good habits or bad habits.  Study habits are habits that generally lead to learning.

Going to every class, getting there on time, and taking notes are good habits but they do NOT necessarily lead to learning. Many students go to class regularly, get their on time, and even take good notes but they still forget nearly everything in less than a day. In fact, some students walk out of that lecture and discover that the information must have “gone in one ear and out the other.” They can’t tell you what the lecture was about.

Many student believe that Time Management is a study skill. It certainly leads to more regular time set aside for study.  Time Management is a habit we can use that can learn to more time spent learning or studying. But students often follow their new schedules and spend hours “reading” or highlighting a book and still learn little.

What are Study Skills or Learning Skills?

Study Skills and Learning Skills are the same thing.  I prefer the term “Learning Skills” because it doesn’t mislead students into believing that when they are Reading, Listening, Writing, or Taking Notes  that they are studying.  Skills are harder to develop than Habits. You develop skills over many years. Developing skills involves years of practice, and require working with more and more difficult material. These are the skills that allow you to Input information and output your learning through writing, speaking and taking tests.

But these skills lead to short-term learning, learning that is superficial.

Reading is NOT Studying. Reading and highlighting in NOT Studying. Reading the chapter again is still NOT Studying. These are ways students use to get the information into their head. Once you know the material you can begin to Study.

What are Study Methods or Strategies?

Study Methods or Strategies lead to long-term learning that involves a deep understanding of the material and many connections between new ideas and previous knowledge and experience. Test questions that go beyond repeating of basic facts and formulas, that ask students to apply what they learned to new problems, require this level of learning.

Some of these strategies can still be done on a superficial level, but a combination of organizing information, thinking seriously about what you are learning, and using a variety of strategies to remember lead to deeper comprehension and lasting memory.

This is what it means to STUDY.

For  a Summary of Study Methods:     Four Steps to Effective Study Methods

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