Studying is, and will always be, an area of love-hate relationships with students. It has been made out to be something magnanimous, extremely crucial, and tedious by society. How many people say, “I actually like studying!” and how many go, “Oh maaan…another test!”?
Did you know that the trick to enjoying studying (yes, enjoying) is no rocket science. The real magic lies in knowing how to study, a fact that most teachers today do not take into consideration or give due importance to. When students know how to tackle a subject effectively and in lesser time, they start enjoying it. Studying is an art and science, with a little bit of psychology infused into it.
In this article, we are handing out the 10 essentials to create an effective learning strategy. That’s right, we are going to tell you how you can make your learning process easy, fun, and very effective.
10 Essential Elements of an Effective Learning Strategy
#1. Using Summative Assessment
Summative assessment means first understanding what you know already and then create goals accordingly. Before starting to learn a lesson for example, a student can take a multiple choice test to understand where he/she stands with respect to the lesson. Once a student understands which areas need more attention, setting learning goals becomes easy.
#2. Spacing Out Study Time
When a student studies in small chunks of time with regular, small breaks, it helps retain information better and for longer. After a break, the mind tends to forget what it has learned in the near past. Revisiting it after some time gives the brain an opportunity to relearn. Relearning helps students remember information for weeks after the test. A student should study a few days before a test, and then revise a day before. This helps retain more information and improve scores as well.
#3. Self-assessment of Work
There is a reason behind rechecking your work after it has been completed. Sometimes, we make typos, grammatical mistakes, factual mistakes, or other errors when doing an assignment. Students can also miss instructions and guidelines mentioned explicitly. Checking the work after it is done improves its quality, and students get into the habit of handing over work that is properly completed.
#4. Retrieving Studied Information
A lot of students say that they find it easier to recall information while studying, and forget things during a test. This is because when it’s right in front, there is a feeling of security. Students should instead take small tests themselves, like multiple choice, or draw diagrams, create their own questions and write down answers; basically anything that requires recalling what it learnt. This shows how much you have actually retained.
#5. Setting Personal Goals
Discipline is a very important requirement for everything in life, including learning. Students who are more organized and set periodic goals fare better than those who don’t. You should start small; maybe set goals for the week, or just one lesson, or even for a day. Goals help tackle study time bit by bit instead of becoming overwhelming.
#6. Elaborating Concepts
Being as detailed as possible about a concept helps students retain more information and learn better. Ask yourself an open-ended question. And then write an answer that has as many details about it as you can recall. This helps you understand and remember the concept as a whole, which also makes it easier to connect the dots within the concept.
#7. Ask for Feedback
Students should regularly ask teachers for feedback, or questions about a particular subject or assignment to get a better understanding of what is expected. Regular feedback helps refine learning and also retention of information. Students can improve on something that they are doing incorrectly, or refine their current techniques. Instead of receiving sudden feedback at once, breaking it down into frequent intervals is more effective.
#8. Using Examples
It is commonly noticed that using practical situations, real-life scenarios and concrete examples helps to fix a concept in the brain more effectively than just learning about it. For instance, learning about photosynthesis from the book and observing it on an actual plant are two very different things. When students can put an actual situation, a process, to a concept, it helps them learn it better.
#9. Using Dual Media
Audio visual works better than just audio or visual. Similarly, including pictures and graphics in textbooks makes learning more fun, less boring, and also simpler. For example, teaching students about a chemical reaction by writing scientific formulae on the board and explaining the reaction in detail is still far less effective than actually performing the experiment in class. Or showing them a film about an important event in history, along with the lesson, helps them remember it better.
#10. Not Dwelling on Past Failures
Or to say, learning from previous mistakes. If you are unable to clear/score well in a test, then you should understand what went wrong, where you could have done more, where you fell short, and then work on it before the next test. Remember, the previous test is done. The next one is an opportunity to do better. Talk to your teachers, ask them for help. Be honest with yourself, and study accordingly.
Studying is fun when you know how to do it right. Studying smart is as effective as studying hard, but just more fun. Try out these techniques to retain what you study, recall it when needed, and to remember it for a long time. They will help you achieve your study goals effectively.