Tag Archives: study skills

Now that we’ve all experienced months of enforced remote instruction, we’ve learned how challenging online learning can be for those who never acquired the right skills: How to manage online learning platforms and tools What responsibilities online learners have in the process How to engage with both instructors and other students How to manage your physical workspace and schedule How to take effective notes for both retention and review    Let a professional educator who teaches both college and medical students online show you how to become a better online learner in ways that will lead to enhanced academic, professional, and personal success. Don’t wait until the next crisis to master these essential skills. The best time to become a better online learner is NOW!   This seminar is part of our June Seminar Series. The fee is $25 for this program or $99 for as many of the June…

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Recently, I taught some classes on the changes to the spring 2020 Advanced Placement (AP) exams. Aside from learning about the specific changes for those tests, I had the opportunity to review good online teaching and testing. In general, the issues for students are similar to those they always face: what needs to be done to learn effectively and test well? Similarly, instructors still need to be able to have clear objectives, provide an effective teaching environment, and build confidence. The challenge for instructors is working in a novel teaching environment. What issues are impacted by learning online? First, more and more students will look for information online. While this is nothing new, I believe a lack of guidance can lead students to unreliable sources. As instructors, we need to teach students good practices, such as determining what makes a good source. For example, the dependence on Google searches has…

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We live in a golden age of self-directed education. Where motivated students once had to entomb themselves in libraries to drink from the font of knowledge, now those thirsty for learning merely need to plug into the web to uncover the secrets of the universe in text, audio, and video formats. Whether you want to know how to change a light switch, fold a cloth napkin into a swan, or solve systems of equations, you’ll have no problem finding free tutorials on that exact topic. Why, then, do we still have schools? While we all tend to get excited about unfettered access to free learning resources, we all still prize–and patronize–teachers, tutors, and coaches. Why pay premiums to attend superior high schools or colleges and dole out additional sums to educational, athletic, and artistic coaches when brand name schools offer free courses online? Obviously, we continue to prioritize live education…

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In education–as in all other things–we must never mistake effort for achievement. Far too many people are taught much yet learn little. In fact, many students find themselves buried under an avalanche of information without gleaning much in the way of knowledge. One area the discrepancy between teaching and learning becomes apparent is in a student’s notes. Prolific note-takers may fill page after hopefully handwritten page with copious names, dates, and facts, only to lose the essential framework that ties all these discrete pieces of trivia together. One path to distilling excess information into real knowledge is the shrinking outline method. STEP 1. A shrinking outline comes in handy when an original outline contains too much information to be manageable. So start with an unwieldy body of sequential notes. STEP 2. Spend time studying these notes, looking for the main ideas that contain and connect the smaller points. Create a…

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When I think back to my college days, I wonder how professors expected us to learn anything. Some of those courses entailed hour-long lectures to hundreds of students at a time with minimal opportunity to encode or implement information. No wonder tests were basically based on the textbooks! Obviously, not every class–then or now–centers primarily on passive absorption of content. In fact, such ineffective models have mostly given way to more activity-oriented lesson plans. Effective teaching usually harnesses what is called the production effect. Basically, producing something at the immediate moment of learning facilitates understanding and enhances retention. At the most basic level, the production effect can be just a verbal trick, the superior retention of material read aloud relative to material read silently during an encoding episode. As you learn new information, repeat it to learn it. However, in learning as in so many other areas of life, actions…

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Recently, someone asked an odd but strangely compelling question on Quora: “What is it like to take the SAT without any preparation?” As this question seems to focus more on feelings than consequences, you might as well ask what it’s like to do anything unprepared: You’ll feel anxious as the challenge of the task reveals itself. You’ll feel uncertain as you try to learn rules you could have mastered ahead of time. You’ll feel rushed as you struggle with pacing and time management. You’ll feel embarrassed for thinking you knew more about the task than you really did. You’ll feel foolish as you underperform compared to how you would do with preparation and practice. You’ll feel regret for wasting time and blowing an opportunity. Imagine trying to sing a song you’ve never tried before in front of all your friends on karaoke night. Of all the emotions that would wash…

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