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Wired studying isn't always the best strategy

Jenna Johnson

College students used to show up to class with just a notebook and a pen or pencil, maybe a highlighter and sticky notes. Today, more and more students are taking notes on a laptop, downloading class documents from the web, compiling study guides using Google Docs and researching online.

Does being wired up make these students better studiers?

Well, not really, according to a new study by researchers from Pennsylvania State University and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

The researchers found that "students are not strategic studiers of computer-based materials." Many of the students reported that instead of taking notes on the most important facts and ideas in a passage, they copy-and-pasted huge chunks of information into their notes. They spent too much time rereading lengthy passages, recopying their notes and creating lengthy outlines and studying facts one-by-one instead of collectively, the researchers wrote.

The researchers found that undergraduate students can score 29 to 63 percentage points higher on tests by using a study method called SOAR:

Students should go through the material, select the most important ideas and note them.

Students should then organize these ideas into charts, illustrations and other graphics.

Students should look for associations between ideas and create meaningful connections.

Student should learn through summarizing information and creating practice questions.

The two authors of the study are Kenneth A. Kiewra, a professor of educational psychology at Nebraska, and Dharmananda Jairam, a former Nebraska graduate student who is now at Penn State. To read more about the study, check out the university's news release.

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By Jenna Johnson  |  August 10, 2010; 10:35 AM ET
Categories:  Networking  | Tags: Penn State, University of Nebraska  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Getting involved (and staying involved) in college
Next: U-Va. dorms get rid of landline phones


"copy-and-pasted huge chunks of information into their notes", why would one be so stupid to think that everything is important (if everything is important then nothing is important!).

On "Select", you need to define settings, is it for self study? preview? or in a lecture/classroom environment. If all, say so. You forgot the word, Clarity.

All in all, the study method seems to make sense.

Posted by: knowledgenotebook | August 10, 2010 4:02 PM | Report abuse

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