Instructor Authors New Book on the Psychology of Student Success

Troy clapping in a group

Troy Dvorak has been known to let his hair down on occasion. 

The faculty and staff at Minneapolis College are known for their innovative ways of empowering and inspiring student success. Troy Dvorak, psychology instructor who is known for his mantra "psychology rocks," figured out a way to make learning a bit easier and outlines it in his new book, Studying vs. Learning: The Psychology of Student Success.

“My new book is a practical guide to developing more effective learning and studying strategies,” said Dvorak. “The strategies are supported by psychological and educational research and expand a host of learning skills as well as five important psychological principles students can use to develop the personal habits associated with success, not just in school, but in life.”

Develop the skills to be a more confident, efficient and productive learner

Dvorak expresses excitement around helping students develop the skills they need to be more confident, efficient and productive.

"This book is a practical guide to developing essential skills for college, many that students have never learned about before," said Dvorak. "It holds straight-forward suggestions students can put into practice immediately. When life is tough, you don't make flashcards or memorize definitions. You need the personal skills and habits described in Studying vs. Learning to deal effectively with the challenges you face, inside and outside of school."

Troy's expertise lies in the area of student success. With the growing popularity of "grit" and mindsets, Troy began reviewing the research on psychological factors related to student success in 2009. After combing through more than 600 peer-reviewed articles, he wrote his first book, Psychological Keys to Student Success, published in 2014.

The book was written for students, giving them insights into the thinking skills and personal characteristics commonly associated with college success. Dvorak's new book refines previous ideas and adds sections on learning skills and psychological skills. Dvorak believes self-awareness is pivotal to success in college and life and felt compelled to share more information about psychological learning skills. His new book provides tangible ideas students can implement.

Helping students achieve their goals

"It's important for me to help others understand the relationship between studying and learning," said Dvorak. "Sometimes studying results in learning, but sometimes it doesn't. Many students use study strategies that are not very effective and, therefore, they don't get the results they want. My book can change all that."

Dvorak believes it is important for all teachers to share with students the reasons for teaching strategies and assignments. Implicit in those are studying techniques that students don't realize. The book offers ideas so students can look for deeper understanding and be their own teachers.

Dvorak holds a master's degree in clinical psychology. Prior to becoming a college instructor in 2005, Dvorak provided psychological assessment and treatment services for children, teenagers and families at an outpatient mental health clinic in Canada. As a clinician, his areas of expertise included behavioral and emotional disorders in childhood and adolescence, therapy with families and school counseling. Dvorak believes a day spent helping others is a day well spent and takes his role as a teacher seriously.

"My role is to educate, inspire, motivate and help students achieve their goals," said Dvorak.

Minneapolis College's Bookstore has Troy's book available now. If you prefer to order the E-book, it is available online for Nook (Barnes & Noble), Kindle (Amazon), and iTunes.


Minneapolis College's Bookstore has Troy's book available now. If you prefer to order the E-book, it is available online for Nook (Barnes & Noble), Kindle (Amazon), and iTunes.

He will also be at Barnes and Noble in the Galleria in Edina talking about and signing copies of his book on Saturday, September 22 at 11 a.m. The event is open to the public.

More on Troy's book events.