Skip to content
RMIT University Library - Learning Lab

New ways of learning


New ways of learning


Learn independently

You're expected to learn independently at tertiary study. Take charge of your learning experience by motivating yourself. This will help keep you on top of your study.

Time management skills are key in being a success in your learning. Take an independent approach in managing class timetables, attending classes, and reading course materials before class.

If you need an extra hand to improve your study skills, there are supports available for you to use.

Learn actively

Active learning is another core skill in tertiary study. In active learning, you take active control of your study by choosing the suitable learning strategies that make study meaningful for you. These active learning strategies vary but can include:

  • understanding, assessing and questioning information
  • finding tricks and tips to help you get more organised
  • reading additional resources beyond required readings
  • developing a habit of reading, understanding, writing, synthesising materials.

Find out more about how to take an active learning approach.

Think critically

You'll use critical thinking in higher education to read, assess, question, challenge and consider the pros and cons of the information and opinions you encounter in your research and study. This skill can be developed once you have considered the different viewpoints of an issue. Critical thinking can help you stand out from the crowd in your class and in the workplace.

Visit Critical thinking to practise your knowledge.

Learn collaboratively

It's essential to learn to work collaboratively with others. Expect that you will study within the constraints of different class groups. You may be in a class of 300 or 25, and it's likely that you'll participate in group work. How you work within different class sizes and in groups might impact your approach with your peers.

Get prepared for collaborative learning with tips at Group work which will help you with completing class discussion activities or assessments when several students are contributing.

Learn with integrity

In tertiary study you are expected to work with a high level of academic integrity. Academic integrity is defined as being when the “wider academic community is built on shared values and norms of behaviour, including honesty, fairness and responsibility” (La Trobe University 2023:para. 1). This integrity requirement applies to you as an active member of the academic community. You can demonstrate your knowledge and adherence to academic integrity rules by attending to and applying these points to your study:

  • be honest, fair and respectful in all academic activities, from completing your assignments to sitting exams
  • employ good academic practice, whether you are working alone or with a group of classmates
  • ensure your work, both individual and collaborative, acknowledges any information that has influenced your thinking. This includes everything from books and articles, to websites and images
  • take personal responsibility for ensuring you act appropriately in your studies
  • understand that these practices are applicable to the whole academic community, including students, staff and other professionals.

Learn more about academic integrity and RMIT policies around academic integrity.


In tertiary study you'll learn how to acknowledge other people’s ideas in your work by using referencing. You'll need to reference the source(s) both in your writing (in-text citation) and at the end of your writing (in a bibliography or reference list).

Referencing styles vary from one discipline to another, so it's good to check with your teachers which style is used in your course. Visit Easy Cite for a list of referencing styles. If you don't have much experience with referencing, it's good to know that it takes time to master all the formats of your style – you don’t need be an expert right away. Library staff are experts in referencing and can help you.

Time management

It's common to have commitments beyond studying, such as work, family, and social life, that require your time. It is good to keep in mind that if you do a full-time study load, it can equal a full-time job.

It's important to manage your time in ways that can often prioritise your studies, amongst other things. There are things you can do to use your time wisely and keep the load moving.

  • Use time management tools such as Weekly Planner to control, allocate and keep track of your time to different commitments.
  • Stay focused on your tasks by avoiding distractions such as screens and noise (if you need time to read and write).
  • Avoid procrastination. You might think that you can work better under last-minute pressure. The reality is, it will get a lot more stressful when multiple study and work deadlines arrive at the same time. It's always better to plan and act early.

Learn more about time management.


LaTrobe University (2023) What is academic integrity?, Academic Integrity website, accessed 07 May 2023.

Images by Monet (adapted), Jacob Lund and Iona on Adobe Stock