The Vital Study Skills System
Evidence-Based Approach to Learning Strategies
Our holistic approach to learning addresses the 3 fundamental strategies that allow you to not only repeat the material for a test, but to actually know it for life.
How you spend your waking hours
Getting proper sleep, nutrition and exercise
Learning focus, concentration, and self talk
Take steps to cement the material in long term memory.
Activities are used to stimulate prior knowledge and build new knowledge. Pre-reading helps students become more active and engaged in classroom lectures and increases reading speed and comprehension.
Students learn how to structure the material as they listen to lectures and read the texts. The structuring phase helps them internalize the information and build mental models.
The information is encoded in long-term memory by a structured approach to spaced reviews and self-tests.
Having stored the information in long-term memory, students are able to easily access and apply what they have learned. This step is typically demonstrated in examinations and laboratory work.
Use the Baseline Time Recording Sheet to record your activities for the next week. By observing and recording your behavior for a week, you will discover “bits” or “chunks” of time that you can use more effectively.
Use the Plan/Actual Time Recording Sheet to discover how closely you are following your schedule. By checking off planned activities as they are completed, you can determine if there is a pattern to your “off schedule” activities. E.g., Does housework suddenly seem important when you are supposed to be studying? Do phone calls or e-mails interrupt your study time? Once you discover your patterns of distraction, you can better deal with them.
What People are Saying
Intensive Training for Better Course Comprehension
In a Vital Skills Workshop students learn to:
- manage their time
- get the most out of lectures
- organize study notes
- improve long-term memory
- increase concentration
- reduce test anxiety
- prepare for exams
Skills and Strategies for Mastering the Material
We’ve taken our years of research and workshop experience and distilled it into workbooks for self-study.
We present self-diagnostic tools and strategies that can be applied by students of any discipline. These skills are a must for any student embarking on a rigorous course of study.
For students who do not have access to one of our workshops, our workbooks can be used in a small group setting. Our books are also an excellent resource for counselors and teachers.
Our Team of Experts
Kathleen Straker, M.Ed.
Kathleen Straker is president of The Straker Group, LLC. She is a master’s-prepared educator and reading specialist with two decades of experience in teaching study strategies. The workshops she teaches have helped thousands of students graduate to careers in nursing, allopathic and veterinary medicine and research.
Rick Straker has more than 20 years’ experience in a variety of consulting, training, and management roles in the public and private sectors. He is a Certified Facilitator, a Certified Performance Technologist and has extensive training in performance improvement best practices. He is co-founder of The Straker Group.
Tony Moore is a Certified Performance Technologist and president of Moore Performance Improvement. MPI is a virtual company, networked with other consulting companies around the country that share the same stringent standards and systematic approach to improving performance.
Eugenia Kelman, PhD
Eugenia Kelman is a cognitive-behavioral psychologist. She has served on the faculty and in the administration at Colorado State University in Ft. Collins, CO; University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, TX and at Cornell University in Ithaca, NY. Her favorite question is, “What can I learn from this?”