Written by: Jennifer R. Talaugon, Teacher II – City of Balanga National High School-SHS
The Covid-19 pandemic has brought drastic changes in people’s lives. But one of the striking changes it has caused was the switch from face-to-face classes to distance learning which prompted every student to do self-learning at their homes. Hence, these students may have probably wondered, what is the most effective way to study on their own? That is actually a clever question because there are many students who unfortunately waste their time with ways that just isn’t effective. Fortunately, after doing my research, I was able to find out the top six strategies to bring out the inner genius in every student which may help them to succeed in self-learning.
The first strategy is called the SPACED PRACTICE or simply, NO CRAMMING. A 5-hour study crammed into one intensive session is not as good as the same 5 hours spread out over two weeks. Students will learn more and get better results with that amount of time or less, as long as they are not cramming. Learning will be less stressful with spaced practice than the panic of cramming. Much more learning and a long-term retention of learning can be guaranteed through this strategy. Students may have a reduced time to study again, about the same thing in the future, because they won’t have to re-learn the same information. So, to do it, students need to start planning and schedule short study sessions into their calendar. They need to remember that learning is not a marathon or race of intensive periods of study. They only have to review information from each subject or class, one at a time and not in one sitting because the key is consistent short study sessions over time.
The next strategy is to switch between ideas during a single study session for a particular subject, this is called INTERLEAVING. Students should not study one idea, topic or type of problem for too long. Switching can highlight and contrast the similarities or differences between topics or types of questions. Say for instance, if students are doing problem solving, switching can help them choose the correct approach to solve a problem. This strategy will encourage students to make links between ideas as they switch between them. To make the mind lively and easily able to jump between ideas and know how they relate to each other, students must study just enough information to understand an idea before making a switch thus overloading information must be avoided.
The next strategy is for when they have their lectures or modules with them. The strategy is ASKING THEMSELVES QUESTIONS about how and why things work, and then, finding the answers in their class material. Students must explain and describe ideas with as many details as they can and connect the ideas to their daily life and experiences. Doing so will force them to understand and explain what they are learning, and connect it with what they already know which may help them to organize the new ideas and make them easier to recall later.
The following strategy is the USE OF SPECIFIC AND CONCRETE EXAMPLES. Relevant examples help demonstrate and explain ideas, which helps students to understand them better. Human memory hooks onto concrete information better than abstract information, so students must look for real life examples that they can relate to. Students can collect examples from their teacher, search their modules, browse the internet and look out for examples in their daily life. Thinking of their own relevant example is most helpful for learning, but students must be careful to confirm with their teacher that their examples are accurate and relevant to the idea they are learning. Students should link the idea and the examples, and understand how the examples applies.
Next strategy is COMBINE VERBAL MATERIAL OR WORDS WITH VISUALS. Doing this will give the students two ways of understanding and remembering the information later on. Students can find visuals in their modules and examine how the words are describing what’s in the image. Then, do it the other way around by examining how the image represent what’s described by the text. Students must look at the visuals and explain in their own words what they mean. Then take the words from the class materials and draw their own picture for them. Moreover, students can also try to create different ways to represent the information they are learning.
And finally, the RETRIEVAL PRACTICE STRATEGY or recalling learning. Students need to practice retrieving everything in their head that they know about a topic. To do this, students must put away all their notes and modules and try writing down or sketching out everything that they know. By doing so, they will reinforce what they have learned and it will become easier for them to recall later on. Also, improvement comes with practice. So, if the student wants to get better at recalling information in exams, then they should practice recalling learning effectively.