As the world faces the global pandemic, the question of effective education has become more relevant than ever. The students went online to do their homework, and for many of them, it became the cornerstone in their education process. The motivation decreased, and the academic performance got even worse than before. For this reason, it is instrumental to review the most effective ways of learning in college, especially in such adverse conditions.
Note-taking is one of the methods that prove to be the most efficient in learning. It allows to refresh and memorize the information before tests and during lectures. The memorization process consists of several steps that need to be taken into account. This method is often considered almost extinct, but it is still a classical one. Color-coding the notes is one of the possible ways to structure the notes to make recalling easier. It is a dynamic and visual way of organizing information. Colors help to prioritize the notes and give a better perception of the material as it increases attention to particular parts (Chai 10). It also creates a positive and creative environment that increases motivation for college students.
A more general method to characterize efficient learning is called spaced practice. This is an approach to learning that encourages students to learn something for a longer period of time instead of cramming before an exam (Pan). Cramming overloads one’s brain and damages a student’s sleep schedule, which is also vital for effective studying. Thus, extending one’s working time allows processing the information better and recalling easier. Spaced practice suggests setting a studying schedule over a month to distribute the materials and be prepared.
Retrieval practice is based on the concept of remembering information to memorize it. Recalling an answer is much more effective than repeating it as it trains students before tests and exams (Whelan). One can do practice tests without looking in the book, using flashcards, or even making one’s own questions to use this technique. The practice based on putting flashcards into different sets according to how well one remembers them is called the Leitner system, which can enhance the memorization process (Whelan). This technology can be found in many flashcards applications, which are simple to use on one’s phone. All of these techniques can significantly increase a student’s performance.
The other visual way of structuring one’s notes is called mind mapping. Information is organized in a diagram where the topic word is written in the center, while major ideas and keywords are connected with the central concept (10 Effective Study Techniques to Try This Year). The ideas form branches that create a logical chain. Mind mapping becomes a useful tool for retrieving information, and it also improves reading comprehension as students need to think of the core concepts of the topic. Thus, a mind map forms a bigger picture by communicating relationships between ideas and concepts.
Modern technology combined with traditional methods of learning allows to increase one’s performance at college in many different ways. It is important to find an effective way for a particular student as perception opportunities are different. Note-taking, spaced practice, and retrieval practice present the most effective methods for learning in college. The distance learning that many students face today creates additional impediment to effective learning, so students need to find new ways to study effectively, even in such circumstances.
Chai, Meei Tyng. “Exploring EEG Effective Connectivity Network in Estimating Influence of Color on Emotion and Memory.” Frontiers in Neuroinformatics, vol. 13, 2019.
Pan, Steven. “How to Effectively Study.” UCSD Psychology, Web.
Whelan, Jesse. “Using the Leitner System to Improve Your Study.” Medium, Web.
“10 Effective Study Techniques to Try This Year.” University of St. Augustine for health sciences, 2020, Web.