Applying the Three Ms

The Learning at Iowa initiative supports staff members in student-facing roles in promoting equitable student learning.

Drawing on evidence-based strategies from cognitive science, this site provides practical and easy-to-implement recommendations on how to  apply these learning practices in your daily work with students in one-on-one appointments, group programs, or in the classroom. In addition, student-facing materials about effective learning and customizable tools to promote reflection such as cognitive wrappers and metacognitive prompts may be downloaded and adapted to the specific needs of your role.

Advising & Coaching Resources

This 5-minute video  provides a concise introduction to integrating Mindset, Metacognition, and Memory concepts and strategies into your work with students.

Cognitive wrappers, also known as "exam wrappers" are structured reflection activities that ask students to review their study strategies and reflect on their performance on an exam or assignment.

Advisors and academic coaches can use wrappers in appointments or assign them to help students evaluate how effective they were with their learning, and thus, identify the steps they will take to prepare for the next exam/assignment in order to meet their goals.  


Advisors and coaches can promote metacognitive processing skills by asking students to reflect on their own learning process.  

To facilitate the use of these prompts in one-on-one appointments, the list of questions below is organized into planning, monitoring, and evaluation categories. Advisors can select the most relevant considerations for each student.

Student-facing Materials

These student-facing handouts can be used with students in a variety of settings. Both handouts contain a brief discussion of Mindset, Metacognition, and Memory concepts and related strategies for students.


Students can complete these quick, anonymous surveys via Qualtrics and receive personalized feedback about their skills and preferences related to the Three Ms. A direct link to each of the assessments appears below:

All three options are described in this document: Self-assessments.