Learning how to learn
Learning how to learn

Start this free course now. Just create an account and sign in. Enrol and complete the course for a free statement of participation or digital badge if available.

2.2 Your motivation

Activity 2

Why did you decide to become a student and what do you hope to gain from your studies?

Think about this question for a few minutes and then note down your response.


Have you recorded only one reason for why you became a student or are there several reasons? Have your reasons for studying changed since you became a student? What you want to gain from studying may be something very specific (like promotion) or perhaps very personal (like increased self-confidence).

Here is what Tim wrote:

I've always worked with computers but I actually have a dream. I'd like to be a teacher. I'm particularly interested in music and history. I suppose I'm also attracted to the idea of being able to say that I've got a degree - it'll make me feel good about myself. I hope that doesn't sound as if I'm not interested in the content, because I'm also looking forward to learning new things! This year is just a starting point to achieving my long-term goals.

This is Sue's response:

Decided to be a distance learning student because I'm a nurse and work shifts. The distance learning system seemed to suit me. Wanted to do psychology degree. Chose Biology, brain and behaviour as the course title sounds good and the description appealed to me. Might do science degree. This course relevant to psychology and science degrees.

Most students have a mixture of reasons for studying, some more dominant than others. And many students find their motives change over time. It is a good idea to pause occasionally and review your motives because being aware of them may affect your attitude to study and how you organise it. When things seem to get difficult, reflecting on your reasons for being a student may help you reorganise your priorities.

Take your learning further

Making the decision to study can be a big step, which is why you'll want a trusted University. The Open University has 50 years’ experience delivering flexible learning and 170,000 students are studying with us right now. Take a look at all Open University courses.

If you are new to University-level study, we offer two introductory routes to our qualifications. You could either choose to start with an Access module, or a module which allows you to count your previous learning towards an Open University qualification. Read our guide on Where to take your learning next for more information.

Not ready for formal University study? Then browse over 1000 free courses on OpenLearn and sign up to our newsletter to hear about new free courses as they are released.

Every year, thousands of students decide to study with The Open University. With over 120 qualifications, we’ve got the right course for you.

Request an Open University prospectus371