Students transfer bad study habits from paper to screen

September, 2010

New research confirms most students have poor study skills, and points to the effectiveness of association strategies.

No big surprise, surely: a new study has found that computers do not magically improve students’ study skills — they tend to study online material using the same techniques they would use with traditional texts. Which means, it appears, poor strategies.

More interestingly, the study found that undergraduates who used a method called SOAR (Selecting key lesson ideas, Organizing information with comparative charts and illustrations, Associating ideas to create meaningful connections, and Regulating learning through practice) 29 to 63% more on tests of the material compared to those who mindlessly over-copied long passages verbatim, took incomplete or linear notes, built lengthy outlines that make it difficult to connect related information, and relied on memory drills like re-reading text or recopying notes.

The study involved students first reporting on their strategies for dealing with computer-based texts, then creating study materials from an online text. Different groups were asked to (a) create notes in their own preferred format; (b) create linear notes (the S part of SOAR); (c) create graphically organized matrix notes (SO); (d) create a matrix and associations (SOA); or (e) create a matrix, associations, and practice questions (SOAR). Those using the full SOAR method did best (84% correct on testing), but the dramatic difference was between SO (37%) and SOA (72%) — pointing to the importance of connecting new material to information you already know. The S group scored an average 30%, and the controls 21%.

It’s also well worth noting that, in contradiction of self-reports made by the students at the beginning, there were no signs that students left to their own devices used any association strategies.

Reference: 

Related News

Confirming what many of us have learned through practical experience, a study comparing different strategies of reading or listening has found that you are more likely to remember something if you read it out loud to yourself.

There has been quite a lot of research into the relationship between students’ expectations and academic performance. It’s fairly well-established that students tend to have inflated expectations of their performance, but the effect of this has been disputed.

In a series of experiments involving college students, drawing pictures was found to be the best strategy for remembering lists of words.

I’ve spoken before about the effects of motivation on test performance.

A study into how well students understand specific diagrams reminds us that, while pictures may be worth 1000 words, even small details can make a significant difference to how informative they are.

Trying to learn two different things one after another is challenging. Almost always some of the information from the first topic or task gets lost. Why does this happen?

We know active learning is better than passive learning, but for the first time a study gives us some idea of how that works. Participants in the imaging study were asked to memorize an array of objects and their exact locations in a grid on a computer screen.

You may think that telling students to strive for excellence is always a good strategy, but it turns out that it is not quite as simple as that.

In another demonstration of the many factors that affect exam success, three experiments involving a total of 131 college students have found that seeing the letter A before an exam makes a student more likely to perform better than if he sees the letter F instead.

It has been well-established that, compared to younger adults, older adults require more practice to achieve the same level of performance1. Sometimes, indeed, they may need twice as much2.

Pages

Subscribe to Latest newsSubscribe to Latest newsSubscribe to Latest health news