Strategic Resource Use for Learning: A Self-Administered Intervention That Guides Self-Reflection on Effective Resource Use Enhances Academic Performance

Psychol Sci. 2017 Jun;28(6):774-785. doi: 10.1177/0956797617696456. Epub 2017 Apr 27.


Many educational policies provide learners with more resources (e.g., new learning activities, study materials, or technologies), but less often do they address whether students are using these resources effectively. We hypothesized that making students more self-reflective about how they should approach their learning with the resources available to them would improve their class performance. We designed a novel Strategic Resource Use intervention that students could self-administer online and tested its effects in two cohorts of a college-level introductory statistics class. Before each exam, students randomly assigned to the treatment condition strategized about which academic resources they would use for studying, why each resource would be useful, and how they would use their resources. Students randomly assigned to the treatment condition reported being more self-reflective about their learning throughout the class, used their resources more effectively, and outperformed students in the control condition by an average of one third of a letter grade in the class.

Keywords: learning; performance; psychological intervention; self-regulation; strategic resource use.

MeSH terms

  • Academic Performance*
  • Adult
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Learning*
  • Male
  • Metacognition*
  • Random Allocation
  • Self-Control / psychology*
  • Students / psychology*
  • Universities
  • Young Adult