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The Toolkit for Building Better Learners

  • Wurstküche 625 Lincoln Boulevard Venice, CA, 90291 United States (map)

Veronica X. Yan, PhD


Given that the majority of learning takes place in the learners’ own hands, it is important that we understand how to manage our own learning effectively. Despite being engaged in learning throughout our lives, research shows that our intuitions about how we learn are oftentimes exactly wrong, leading us to choose suboptimal learning strategies over more effective and efficient ones. While intuitions tell us that we should find strategies that make learning feel easy, the most effective study strategies are in fact the ones that introduce challenge to the learner and engage them more effortfully (aka “desirable difficulties”). Being an effective, self-regulated learner therefore not only requires knowing the right toolset of strategies to use, but also requires holding the right mindsets to appreciate that difficulty is important and integral to the process of learning.

Speaker Bio

Dr. Veronica X. Yan is a cognitive psychologist and currently a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Southern California. Her research focuses on what it takes to be an effective, self-regulated learner, bringing together research investigating the “desirably difficult” strategies that enhance learning and the motivational mindsets required to appreciate them. She conducts training workshops across the US for schoolteachers and college instructions, and serves as the Chair of the Learning Advisory Board to ScreenTime Solutions. Her own educational background has spanned three continents: She studied at an international school in Hong Kong, before heading to the University of Cambridge for undergraduate studies in England, and finally landed in California for graduate school and beyond.