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Stanford Learning Lab - October 2021 Newsletter

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Hey Everyone~ Welcome to the Stanford Learning Lab!  I am over the moon that we have launched our new program within Student Affairs.  My name is Kathryn Payne-Gray, and I am the Director of the SL2. 

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There is a lot of information that we will continue to share on our new website, but we wanted to let you know about these specific events coming up.  

In our monthly newsletter, I will provide updates on what is happening within the Stanford Learning Lab, (formerly known as the Schwab Learning Center) dates for upcoming workshops and training, and I will share resources and strategies that will enhance your learning experience.

Many of you have registered for our LLIT program, and we are eager to connect with you!  The LLIT Program is a student-centered, quarter-long experience that infuses individualized goal-setting and strategy-building to advance your academic acuity and self-awareness. More information can be found here.  If you have not done so already, please reach out to your learning specialist (from whom you have received an email) and set up your four appointments for this quarter.  Setting these sessions up now will allow you time to practice using the strategies and tools that your Learning Specialist will suggest, and it will give you the time to revise strategies if necessary.  

Students who are not registered through the LLIT program may now sign up for  Drop-In sessions with our learning specialists.  This is a perfect opportunity for students without a diagnosed learning difference to discuss strategies that might benefit their academic experience.  

Over the past twenty years, cognitive scientists have acquired a great deal of information about learning and what is necessary to process and retain information. In Chapter 5 of Thriving in College and Beyond, authors Joseph Cuseo & Aaron Tompson describe the three key stages to this process: 1) Sensory input-perception, taking in information; 2) Memory formation storage or saving that information;  and 3) Memory recall (retrieval).  These three stages are activated every time that you are sitting in a lecture hall.  You take in both auditory and visual information when professors present powerpoints in a lecture, you save that information by taking notes (either typing or handwriting), and you support your memory and recall by reviewing these notes often.  

Studies show that taking good notes actually increases attention and concentration in class, and that you are more likely to remember the most important information that is presented when you write it down.  The process of hearing information, writing it, and seeing it after you have written it produces three different memory traces (tracks) in the brain. 

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Here are some pre-lecture strategies or tricks you can use to get the most out of class:

  1. Review your syllabus to see what will be the topic for that day.  Brainstorm about how the assigned reading will complement the lecture.
  2. Get to class early to look over your notes from the previous class.
  3. Choose a seat that will be comfortable and away from any distractions.
  4. Adopt a seating posture that will induce focus and concentration.

We’re offering several online groups for students this fall. Here are some gatherings for community, connection, and skill-building:

Affinity Group

Join other students with learning differences in a safe community conversation. Students will be invited to share about strengths and challenges related to their learning differences and check in about how it feels to navigate at Stanford. There will also be an opportunity to discuss strategies that are working. 

Productivity Sessions

Connect with a group of supportive peers who are working productively and set your own goal for work on an academic project of your choosing. Brief shares about goals before and after the sessions encourage accountability and metacognition about the work process. Students will wrap up by identifying concrete next steps to further advance their projects. 

Toolkit Share

Learn from other students about what academic approaches are working well for them. Discover a new technique you’d like to practice until we meet again. You’ll come away from this information sharing session with an enhanced toolkit containing innovative strategies for optimizing your academic success.

Learning and Study Strategies Inventory (LASSI) Breakout Group

Examine the Learning and Study Strategies Inventory (LASSI) in detail and workshop ways to build your skills based on the results of your inventory.