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PHOTO CAPTION:  Lt. Col. (Dr.) John Leckie, 376th Expeditionary Medical Group clinical psychologist, teaches an academic success course to a class of more than 20 service members at Transit Center at Manas, Kyrgyzstan, Sept. 14, 2013. Among other skills, the course consists of test preparation, reading comprehension, time management and coping with procrastination techniques. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Krystie Martinez)

September 14, 2013
By Staff Sgt. Krystie Martinez

TRANSIT CENTER AT MANAS, Kyrgyzstan - Service members here now have a greater opportunity to achieve their education goals with a new course that centers on learning effectively and efficiently.

Lt. Col. (Dr.) John Leckie, 376th Expeditionary Medical Group, clinical psychologist with more than 13 years of experience teaching academic success skills offers the course to all ranks and branches of service.

Using a theory called "strategic learning," he teaches students the importance of capability, desire and discipline.

"There are three components of strategic learning that determine success or various measures of success and those three things are skill, will, and self-regulation," he said.

The skill section consists of specific learning strategies; some examples are reading comprehension and note taking techniques. The will segment covers motivation, attitude and goal setting, to name a few. For the third piece of "strategic learning," Leckie covers self-regulation this includes how a student controls the learning process, his or her time management and coping with procrastination.

He also covers in-depth methods of test preparation, memorization strategies, along with attention and motivation management.

For some students the skills and techniques taught were refreshers and for others these lessons were new.

"It was a good class; it reminded me of some of the things I've learned over the years," said Maj. Docia Buchanan, in charge of manpower and personnel for the 466th Air Expeditionary Group, who is deployed from Langley Air Force Base, Va.

As service members we all go through different professional military education courses and this is a great way to set yourself up for success by learning these study skills and applying them, Buchanan said.

Staff Sgt. Charlotte Jones, a 376th Expeditionary Force Support Squadron contracting officer representative who is deployed from Little Rock AFB, Ark., has a bachelor's degree in business administration and a master's in health care management and also sat in on the session.

"I learned a lot of things I didn't even know about," said Jones. "I've never heard of any of these techniques before; I wish I would have known them in the beginning, they might have helped me to be a little bit more organized and better prepared for a lot of things because I was a crammer."

Jones recommends the class for people looking to advance their careers.

"Anyone who's in the military or wants to advance their careers in any form...is going to require schooling," she said. "So I think this would really help them prepare and keep them one step ahead on proper study techniques to retain the information, not just to learn it temporarily."

She's looking forward to applying one technique in particular.

"I liked the SQ4R technique, the breakdown of reading comprehension," said Jones. "When I study I can't read a book, I skim it...but this technique will help me to retain more by developing questions and help me to think as a test maker instead of a test taker."

The SQ4R is a reading comprehension method that stands for survey, question, read, write, recite and review.

It's scientifically proven that students who master and apply some or all of the techniques discussed in the class make significant improvement in their testing abilities, said Leckie. Which is something military members need in today's highly competitive world.

"Higher education, technical and vocational training are going to have a direct impact on your success and economic success," said Leckie. "So improving your learning skills is something that can pay off for your personal life, your own future, as well as for your families."

Also in attendance was Senior Airman Derranda Brooks, 376th Expeditionary Force Support Squadron, contracting officer representative who is deployed from Eglin Air Force Base, Fla.

"I think the class was really beneficial and I learned a lot of new ways to study," said Brooks. "This class makes me want to continue studying hard for my rank when I go home."