Efficient work skills are necessary in college, as in any occupation, so students may make effective use of their time and be able to select and understand the important ideas in their lessons. Although not every individual can become an outstanding student, a training program can show each student how to work to his full capacity. The responsibility of the college must go beyond merely providing courses; it must also show the student how to take full advantage of his opportunities.
Hundreds of colleges and universities have how-to-study programs; one of the oldest and. most successful is the one at Ohio State University. As a result of an extensive research program, a great deal of useful training material has been developed. This book represents a coordination of these diagnostic and training materials and should be of use in other similar courses.
Since the beginning of how-to-study work in the early 1920s, there have been changing emphases as new ideas and needs became evident. Previous editions of this book have presented these developments. In the early decades of how-to-study work, emphasis was placed on working in a noncredit program with failing and probation students, and attention was given to diagnostic and remedial work with skill disabilities and personal problems. The first edition of this book contained two major sections devoted to remedying disabilities in the three Rs and to helping with distracting personal problems; it was entitled Diagnostic and Remedial Procedures in Effective Study (Harper & Row, 1941).
Later in the 1940s it became obvious that practically all students needed student personnel assistance, and the slogan of the times became "guidance for all." This meant that not only weak but also average and superior students needed help. Good students were found to have not only skill disabilities and personal problems but also inefficient study methods. Their academic success was a result of brilliance rather than good study methods. Psychologists discovered that self-taught skills in every field were always inefficient, e.g., self-taught swimmers or typists could not compete with persons taught the best methods. The psychologists also found in the study-skill field that, as with swimming and typing, research results could be used to design new, higher-level study skills that are more effective than any that even the best students use. Another slogan developed : "The best is none too good."
A special need during World War II gave particular impetus to the discovery of higher-level study skills. Some soldiers had to be trained quickly for specialized positions; and although the soldiers selected were very bright and had excellent student records, they were found to be extremely inefficient in work methods. As a result of these findings, educators designed and taught them various new higher-level study skills. The initial presentation of some of these new skills, e.g., the SQ3R method of study, was made in the second edition of this text (Effective Study, Harper & Row, 1946). This study method, or some variation of it, has been included in most how-to-study books since that time and is one indication of the importance of higher-level study-skill instruction. How-to-study work in the 1940s also continued to do remedial work and to help with distracting problems.
Later, continuing research showed still more effective methods of learning and a need to design study skills to fit differing study situations. The next edition (Effective Study, revised edition, Harper & Row, 1961) had a separate chapter on variations of the SQ3R method of study for handling assignments in different kinds of courses and with different kinds of materials. The topics of motivation, distracting problems, and foreign language study were also given expanded treatment in separate chapters. ...........................................