Fostering Effective Learning Strategies in Higher Education – A Mixed-Methods Study

Felicitas Biwer*, Mirjam Oude Egbrink, Pauline Aalten, Anique de Bruin

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Cognitive psychological research from the last decades has shown that learning strategies that create desirable difficulties during learning, e.g., practice testing, are most effective for long-term learning outcomes. However, there is a paucity of research on how to effectively translate these insights into training students in higher education. Therefore, we designed an intervention program aiming to create awareness about, foster reflection on, and stimulate practice of effective learning strategies. In a first examination of the pilot intervention (N = 47), we tested the effects of the intervention on metacognitive knowledge and self-reported use of effective learning strategies during self-study, using a control-group mixed-methods design. The intervention program had positive effects on knowledge about effective learning strategies and increased the use of practice testing. Qualitative interview results suggested that to sustainably change students’ learning strategies, we may consider tackling their uncertainty about effort and time, and increase availability of practice questions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)186-203
JournalJournal of Applied Research in Memory and Cognition
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2020

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