Strategies and Secrets for Effective Tertiary Study: Reading, Understanding, and Learning in the Academic Setting


Ali Wegner

Publication Date



This article reports a study in which text structure instruction was provided for student teachers, with the first author teaching a first year university course in communication skills. Participants undertook a pre-intervention task at the first class meeting and a post-intervention task in the final session. Course content included study strategy skills (specifically the metacognitive strategy, top-level structuring [TLSing], and the use of visual organizers associated with TLS to organize and distil information from textbooks and course readers) as a regular part of the teaching-learning curriculum. Students compiled and discussed journal entries about their practice with the newly-acquired strategy to record their own developing procedural know-how and what this meant for their academic work. Comparison of pre- and post-intervention tasks indicated a shift in students’ strategies used and their metalanguage about these strategies. This study confirms earlier findings that learning to identify the organisational structure of text and using that knowledge strategically enhances learners’ metacognition, motivation, and self-confidence. The authors argue that the development of metacognitive skills is critically important and useful where universities espouse development of teacher education students’ own learning skills, and easily accomplished as part of coursework.


Institute for Learning Sciences and Teacher Education

Document Type

Journal Article

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ERA Access