What is the purpose of this site?

The short version is that Efficient Learning exists to help Touro University California students succeed in our graduate programs, which are challenging, fast-paced, and comprehensive.

What is the longer version?

The site offers blog entries, advice columns, original essays, and links to valuable resources regarding study strategies, time management, test-taking, focusing, and motivation which our learning specialists have developed and researched based on proven best practices like active learning, metacognition, and spaced repetition. Since students in our professional programs must cover huge fields of content quickly, pass difficult cumulative exams, we focus on helping them learn more efficiently and retain more of what they learned.

What is Touro University California?

Established in 1997, Touro University California offers graduate degrees in Osteopathic Medicine, Pharmacy, Physician Assistant studies, Nursing, Public Health and Education at its serene Mare Island campus in Vallejo, a waterfront city in Sonoma County. To learn more, visit our full website here: Touro University California. We are part of the Touro College and University network of schools.

Who edits this site?

Director of Academic Support Jill Alban earned her Doctorate in Education and has been an educator for more than 30 years. She enjoys the challenge of helping students develop study strategies and improve their grades. 

What are some examples of the services Academic Support provides for Touro California students?

  • Assessments of Study Process & Learning Styles
  • Concentration
  • Formulation of Study Plan
  • General Academic Writing Assistance
  • Memory Aids
  • Stress Management/Burnout Prevention
  • Study Strategies
  • Test Taking Strategies
  • Time Management

If I am a Touro California student, how can I access these services?

We encourage you to schedule an appointment with Dr. Alban at jill.alban@tu.edu or learning specialist Jennifer Pimentel at jennifer.pimentel@tu.edu to discuss your specific needs.

Do you have to be a Touro California student to use this site?

No! While the site is maintained to support our students, you are free to browse or link to any of the content here. If you would like to re-publish anything, please request permission from jill.alban@tu.edu

Why would a good student need this kind of help?

Many students entering an advanced graduate program are used to achieving good grades through last-minute cramming ahead of exams. This is not only extremely stressful, but is also an inefficient way to build the longterm knowledge needed both to pass professional exams, such as boards, and to be a top-notch professional upon graduation. We present alternatives to cramming which emphasize active learning, spaced repetition, and metacognition as ways to both learn more efficiently and to retain more of what you learn.

You talk a lot about “active learning.” What is that?

Not all ways of learning are equal, in terms of efficiency and retention. We describe methods such as reading a textbook or listening to a lecture as passive, and research has proven that learning material this way leads to an extremely high rate of forgetting. Alternatively, answering test questions or explaining a concept to a peer forces the brain to be much more actively engaged with the learning, which has been proven to increase retention.

And “spaced repetition”? What is that?

More than a century ago, a research psychologist discovered the spacing effect, the idea that “learning events that are repeated over time result in more efficient learning and greater retention compared to exposure to a single review of material.” Further research since has found that progressively increasing the time between review sessions is the best way to build longterm memory. Spaced repetition, a technique in which students review material according to a schedule determined by the spacing effect, has been found to be effective in numerous educational contexts.

How about Metacognition?

Metacognition means the awareness and understanding of one’s own thought processes. Practically, in terms of learning, this means, a) understanding what you will need to know; and, b) having an idea of how to use your skills and resources to learn what you don’t know. It can be quite powerful to evaluate the way we are currently trying to learn and remember knowledge, and make changes to improve our efficiency and retention. We also encourage students to scrutinize negative patterns or habits, such as procrastination, that may be blocking their focus or diligence.

Can I ask you other questions I don’t see the answer to already?

We encourage you to submit questions to our “Dear Dr. J” feature in the comments section in which we’ll pick some out weekly to answer, and to submit your student testimonials about what does and doesn’t work for you in terms of studying, to jill.alban@tu.edu.


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