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Stanford Learning Lab offers support, strategies and more to enhance your learning experience at Stanford

Kathryn Payne-Gray, director of the Stanford Learning Lab, welcomes graduate and undergraduate students to the fall semester and shares resources, tips and student group opportunities to help you get the most out of your learning experience at Stanford.

Welcome to the Stanford Learning Lab!

Many of you have registered for our Learning Lab Ignition Term (LLIT) program, and we are eager to connect with you! The LLIT program is a student-centered, quarter-long experience that infuses individualized goal setting and strategy building to advance your academic acuity and self-awareness. You will be paired with a dedicated learning specialist. (To register, you must have a documented learning difference and confirm your eligibility. Learn more here.)

Please reach out to your learning specialist and set up your four appointments for this quarter. Setting these sessions up now will allow you time to practice using the strategies and tools that your learning specialist will suggest, and it will give you the time to revise strategies if necessary.

Students who are not registered through the LLIT program, including students without a diagnosed learning difference, may sign up for drop-in sessions with our learning specialists. This is a perfect opportunity for all students to discuss learning strategies that might benefit their academic experience.

Fall groups for students

Here are some upcoming gatherings for community, connection and skill-building. Please email Carolyn Wilsey ( for group meeting dates, times, and Zoom links.

Affinity group

Join other students with learning differences in a safe community conversation. Students will be invited to share about strengths and challenges related to their learning differences and check in about how it feels to navigate at Stanford. There will also be an opportunity to discuss strategies that are working.

Productivity sessions

Connect with a group of supportive peers who are working productively and set your own goal for work on an academic project of your choosing. Brief shares about goals before and after the sessions encourage accountability and metacognition about the work process. Students will wrap up by identifying concrete next steps to further advance their projects.

Toolkit share

Learn from other students about what academic approaches are working well for them. Discover a new technique you’d like to practice until we meet again. You’ll come away from this information-sharing session with an enhanced toolkit containing innovative strategies for optimizing your academic success.

Learning and Study Strategies Inventory (LASSI) breakout group

Examine the Learning and Study Strategies Inventory (LASSI) in detail and workshop ways to build your skills based on the results of your inventory.

Pre-lecture tips for processing and retaining information

Every time you sit in a lecture hall, you are activating the three stages of processing and retaining information – sensory input-perception, or taking in information; memory formation storage, or saving that information; and memory recall, or retrieving that information.

Studies show that taking good notes increases your attention and concentration in class, and that you are more likely to remember the most important information that is presented when you write it down. The process of hearing information, writing it and seeing it after you have written it produces three different memory traces (tracks) in the brain.

Here are some pre-lecture strategies to get the most out of class:

  1. Review your syllabus to find out what the topic will be for that day. Brainstorm about how the assigned reading will complement the lecture.
  2. Get to class early to look over your notes from the previous class.
  3. Choose a seat that will be comfortable and away from any distractions.
  4. Adopt a seating posture that will induce focus and concentration.