While the environment is important in developing strong universities, and technology allows more people to learn in a convenient way, the student is still the fundamental component of success. Whether we are sitting under a tree with a mentor in ancient society or communicating from our cell phones it is the student that will determine the overall outcome of the learning process.
That doesn't neglect the quality of instructor, the curriculum, and the environment as factors in learning but it does recognize the student's personal characteristics as a central component to learning. The student must come to class willing to learn and seeking knowledge for their own personal development.
This desire to learn is a fundamental difference between strong and weak students. Strong students question in order understand while weak students question to earn a higher grade. One is focused on the learning while the other is focused exclusively on the grade. The personality and characteristics will determine which emphasis the student places.
Learning is a mindset of personal development. It is a person who takes in information, reflects on it and integrates information. While they understand that feedback is somewhat subjective they do look at all feedback as an important method of understanding. Over time the feedback becomes accurate as similar themes develop.
One must be motivated to learn in a term called "grit". No matter what is going on in their lives and what happens to them "grit" ensure that they maintain their course in learning. They will go through many problems in life and still seek greater knowledge and opportunity.
It is difficult for professors to develop motivation in their students because students often come to class with or without this inherent perception. However, it is possible to foster what is available in students by encouraging students to find greater connection between their effort and their long-term goals. By widening and deepening the student's perspective specific actions can be put within a context.