8 Habits of Highly Successful Learners

The study of student motivation and engagement has uncovered a great deal about the particular habits and traits of those learners who are more likely to succeed. Listed here are the 8 of these habits which appear to be the best predictors.

1. Effort: If you don’t put the work in, you’re not going to get much out. Those learners who literally put in the hours beyond the classroom, reap higher rewards.


2. Engagement: Staying focused and on-task. Not getting distracted by things that are going on around you of by disruptive peers.

engage3. Skill development: Just like playing the guitar or becoming an expert batsman, you need to develop your skills as a learner. This might include note-taking, essay writing or honing your listening skills.

4. Participation: Being involved in what’s going on in class. Ask and answer questions and help others who might be struggling. Being fully involved in what’s going on is an important part of the learning process.

5. Attendance: Turning up for lessons – there is a causal relationship between attendance and exam success.

6. Self-concept: How you see yourself as a learner. A positive self-concept is positively correlated with achievement. However, self-concept needs to be realistic and goals achievable – over-estimation can be an equally damaging as under-estimation.

7. Persistence: Not giving up, even when it gets difficult! We quite often use the terms resilience and buoyancy  for this ability to bounce back after failure.

8. Enjoyment of learning: Not seeing learning as something you a forced to do, but rather something that can be enjoyable and personally fulfilling. Although some will use the term ‘Enjoyment of School’ I would argue that school isn’t necessarily a prerequisite for success (after all, many successful learners don’t go to school). I’m reminded of a year 12 pupil who (after completing her AS exams)  once commented that she couldn’t wait to start the A2 work, ‘I know it sounds sad,” she said, ‘I just love learning’.



3 thoughts on “8 Habits of Highly Successful Learners

  1. Ian Lynch

    Not really very interesting. I should think the order is not optimal. Enjoyment and interest should come first because then there is not much effort to making effort. In fact with that right at the top all the others will fall into place. Probably motivation is a better description than enjoyment in any case.

  2. Pingback: Extrinsic Rewards and Painting Fences | Psych(ed)

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