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5 Study Habits You Should Be Practicing

5 Study Habits You Should Be Practicing

With exams, quizzes, essays, projects, and myriad deadlines for different things, effective study habits are critical for keeping stress at bay during college. Having these great study habits can make things easier and alleviate some of the stress looming overhead. If you are in need of a bit of an improvement, or just want to get some new ideas, keep reading for the top five study habits that you should be practicing.

1. Make and use flashcards.

Flashcards are designed to promote active memory recall of information. By using flashcards with a question or term on one side and the answer or definition on the other, you will force your brain to recall the necessary information. Even if you struggle a bit with a card, you will still be actively reviewing the necessary material.

One of the other reasons why flashcards are effective is that they utilize spaced repetition learning techniques. Spaced repetition has been proven time and time again to be one of the most effective ways of building up memory and increasing recall of information. By studying the information again and again, at spaced intervals, you will be able to recall the information faster and far more easily.

2. Revise, revise, revise!

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    Many students put off studying until just before the exam, with the more diligent students giving themselves a week or two prior to a test. While this may sound effective and like a good manner of planning, it’s actually an ineffective method of preparing and studying. It’s best to revise the information a little bit every day, so that you are not overwhelmed when a test (or pop quiz!) comes around.

    One method of revising is to make a mind-map. This is a bit like a flowchart, in that you start with one core concept in the center, and then branch off into connected sections. This will help you to connect everything together and associate the terms with one another. When it comes time to take the exam, you will be better prepared and the key terms will jump out at you.

    Read aloud to yourself and, as silly as it may seem, pretend you are teaching a student. Read your notes aloud, pretend you are lecturing. Do this over and over, until you no longer have to look at your notes. Once you have accomplished that, do it again.

    Take one of the main concepts and turn it into a little story. Make sure you are able to explain this concept, no matter how complex it actually is, to someone who has never heard of it before. For example, if you are studying the industrial revolution, write a story that is written in such a way that it would explain that concept and events to someone who has never heard of it before. While this may sound silly and tedious, it’s an incredibly effective means of going over the information and looking at it in a new light. This, in turn, creates new associations and gives your brain a visual representation of the information, thereby making it easier to remember and recall.

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    Finally, come up with a keywords list. Take each of the main concepts for the subject you are studying, and reduce it into a ONE-word sub-topic. Study this list and memorize it. Incorporate it into the above methods, especially when using your flashcards. When it comes time for the exam, write down your list of keywords the moment you have that test in front of you. This will ensure you easily remember each topic and sub-topic, as well as providing a frame of reference if you get a blank during the test.

    3. Watch related lectures and videos.

    light apple books desk large

      One of the most effective—and the most fun—methods of studying is to watch related lectures and videos in order to supplement the material. Watch documentaries or videos on YouTube and educational websites. You may be surprised at how much you can learn from videos, and just how much information is available online.

      On a related note, you may also be able to download or stream podcasts that cover a large range of topics. Depending on what you are studying, you may find this to be very useful and entertaining.

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      4. Create practice tests based off previous tests.

      You should save all of the graded papers, quizzes, tests, assignments, and handouts that your teacher hands back to you. This will not only show you how well you did, but it will also highlight what you need to work on and where your strengths lie in that particular subject. You will also be able to learn the format of the tests, the structure of the questions, and whether or not to predict the inclusion of tricky True/False questions.

      Use these graded tests to create a new practice test. Include the questions you got correct, for some variety, but mainly focus on the questions you answered incorrectly. By focusing solely on these parts of the required material, you will turn your weaknesses around and even out the dents in your recall. Come test time, you will be far less stressed and feel more prepared.

      5. Re-write your notes.

      Studies have shown that writing information out by hand increases your ability to recall the material. This makes the recall go hand-in-hand with muscle memory, and you will be able to picture your written notes when you are taking the exam.

      One of the best ways to do this is to prepare for each class far ahead of time. Before the lecture begins, stake out your spot and go back over the assigned reading, your notes from the last class, and any homework you completed the night before. Right before the lecture starts, scan through the notes from the previous lecture as a means of gaining a sense of context that you will be able to build the new material on. This way, you will be able to focus on the lecture in order to get the information you will not be able to just look up in the book later on after the class has ended.

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      When you take the notes, write the information in your words rather than just blindly writing down what the professor says. This will help you to better grasp and retain the information. After class, re-write your notes in a more organized manner. This will help you to go over the information, as well as to ensure you have a sold set of notes for studying later on. As you go through the notes, summarize each section. This will sum it all up in your own vernacular, and show that you truly do understand the concepts. It will also show where any gaps in your understanding of the material may be.

      coffee desk notes studying

        Using outline formats with bullets, indentations, and numbering in order to make the hierarchical relationship between different points even more obvious will further solidify the information in your mind. Leaving space between the lines will also makes your notes easier to scan and study later on.

        The Cornell method is also extremely effective, especially if you do the summary at the end of the page. Fold your paper to have a large section on the right, and a smaller section on the left. On the right, jot down the pertinent information, points, or definitions during class. On the left, write questions for the information on the right, as you would read on a test. The left section is also the place for terms that are defined by the information on the right. At the very bottom of each page, add a summary of the above information. Later, when you go to study the notes, you can cover up the right column and make your notes a great means of preparing for exams.

        These are the five most effective study habits, and something all successful students do. Make sure you are on top of your game by following these study methods!

        Featured photo credit: pexels via static.pexels.com

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        Last Updated on November 5, 2019

        5 Learning Management Systems (LMS) for Effective Learning

        5 Learning Management Systems (LMS) for Effective Learning

        Businesses rely on talent to generate and sell value. Without skilled people to create its products, manage its operations and execute its strategies, a business would inevitably fizzle out of the game and leave better-staffed competitors to take the field.

        This is the reason why ambitious companies go great lengths to attract top talent,[1] shelling out millions of dollars in the process and bending traditional work policies just to bring highly skilled but demanding candidates into the fold.

        Clearly, the contours of business are changing. But so are the demographics of work.

        Millennials have become the dominant generation in the job market in terms of population, and some have already transitioned into leadership roles. Most millennials consider opportunity to learn and grow more important than overall compensation.[2]

        Companies also today expect employees to come equipped with razor sharp business acumen.[3] Unfortunately, there is an alarming discrepancy between the actual skills businesses need and those currently possessed by job candidates.

        To stay in the game, employers need to continually upgrade their training and skills development strategies to cover the entire employee lifecycle.

        What are Learning Management Systems (LMS)?

        Learning management systems are software-based solutions for authoring, presenting, consuming, storing, and tracking educational content and training materials. These systems aim to centralize all instructional content (e.g., lessons, training modules, instructional videos, presentation slides, worksheets, online quizzes, ebooks, takeaway notes, etc.) in one place.

        LMS enable instructors to design and deliver learning experiences to students, with the added capability of evaluating the effectiveness of the instructional materials and grading the learning progress of students.

        On the other side of the equation, learners use LMS to develop skills and acquire new knowledge virtually anytime and anywhere via the different channels and content formats made possible by digital technology.

        Over the years, a wide range of features and technologies have been integrated into learning management systems to help enhance the experience of training designers, instructors, and learners. These include cloud and mobile technology, artificial intelligence, responsive design, scheduling, gamification, data analytics, and interoperability with other applications.

        5 Best All-Purpose Learning Management Systems

        There are dozens of LMS vendors catering to the general market or to specific segments such as K-12 learning, higher education, and corporate training.

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        With so many options available, selecting the right LMS solution for your needs can be complicated and costly, especially when you end up adopting a platform that doesn’t exactly match your goals or requirements.

        Short of conducting a comprehensive audit of your needs and finalizing a learning roadmap, the safest bet would be to adopt full-featured but affordable LMS solutions.

        Based on user reviews, here are the 5 best LMS to help people gain knowledge, build skills, and achieve mastery:

        1. Canvas Network

        Launched by Instructure as an open source software in 2011, Canvas is an end-to-end cloud-based service originally engineered for the education sector.

        Widely adopted for K-12 and Higher Ed learning, Canvas can be repurposed for anything that involves an instructor, a subject matter, and a student.

        Used around the world by people of all ages and organizations of all types, Canvas arguably has the largest learning and support community in its class. It works on desktop computers, tablets and mobile phones.

        To get a glimpse of the platform’s fresh interfaces, you can visit the Canvas Network, a learning community that provides educational and instructional materials created by colleges, universities, corporate businesses, independent course developers, and other knowledge-sharing entities around the world.

        Hosting hundreds of interesting topics from data science to horticulture, the learning network also serves as evidence to the scope, capabilities, and popularity of the Canvas LMS platform.

        Canvas is hosted on Amazon Web Services (AWS) infrastructure, which enhances the platform’s reliability, speed, scalability, and overall online performance.

        Additionally, platform adopters enjoy a low-risk environment since cloud-based solutions require no hard stops for version updates, upgrades, or system migrations.

        The Canvas website does not show a price matrix but says the service adopts a simple formula for computing fees: a one-time implementation fee and an annual subscription fee based on total number of users. It also promises free basic services for teachers who want to use the platform.

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        In addition to Canvas, Instructure also offers Bridge (an LMS designed for corporate environments), Arc (a video platform for online learning), and Gauge (an assessment management system).

        Check out this video if you want to learn more about Canvas Network:

        2. Google Classroom

        This free service from Google aims to improve the teaching and learning process using cloud technology, web apps, workflow simplification, and seamless communication between students and instructors.

        Using Classroom, educators can easily create and schedule classes, distribute assignments, send feedback, and grade quizzes all in one place. By streamlining processes, Classroom helps teachers save time and organize classes more effectively. Both students and teachers can also work using any device anytime and anywhere.

        Classroom works perfectly with other Google tools, having been launched initially as part of Google’s G Suite for Education. This LMS solution taps Google Drive for content storage and distribution, as well as Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides for the creation and sharing of instructional materials. Meanwhile it integrates Google Calendar for scheduling and Gmail for communication.

        With G Suite, other communication channels such as chat messaging, video conferencing, and a dedicated website are enabled.

        Easy to set up and manage, Google Classroom is free to use. One of my very first courses was actually hosted on Google Classroom.

        Going beyond the classroom environment, Google offers G Suite Enterprise for Education for large institutions. This suite provides enhanced search and analytics capabilities as well as advanced tools for enterprise communications.

        3. Moodle (Modular Object-Oriented Dynamic Learning Environment)

        If budget and capability equally top your list of LMS adoption criteria, then Moodle might just fit the bill. Which is to say there’s none (i.e., bill).

        Moodle is a free and open-source learning solution for distance education, workplace training, flipped classrooms, and other pedagogical environments.

        It is also a full-featured LMS supported by a robust community and a thriving developer ecosystem. Not surprisingly, Moodle is used in more than 15 million courses by more than 130 million users in 230+ countries.

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        Among other things, Moodle enables administrators and educators to create a dynamic and dedicated website to host organic, easily accessible, and highly customizable courses that can be experienced on desktops and mobile devices anytime and anywhere.

        Moodle provides a personalized and intuitive dashboard as well as a host of collaboration tools for content designers, teachers, and learners. A universal calendar, an efficient file management system, an automatic notification system, multimedia integration, and a progress tracking tool all come with the package.

        Check out this video if you want to learn more about Moodle:

        4. Absorb

        This platform recently bagged PC Magazine’s Editors’ Choice Award for Best LMS.

        Co-designed and built by former course authors, Absorb takes learning experience to the next level. This turnkey LMS solution is responsive, full-featured, and highly customizable for maximum impact.

        Course developers can orchestrate a wide range of experiences depending on audience or learning situation. In addition to surveys, polls, and e-commerce integration, Absorb supports formal online learning and certifications standards such as AICC, SCORM, and Tin Can.

        The user interface can also be modified to match the learner’s location, group, or department, allowing for a different look and feel for customers, channel partners, management trainees, and newly hired employees.

        Absorb supports all personal computing devices from desktops to mobile phones. There are also native or hybrid apps for iOS and Android.

        The only possible drawback to the platform’s powerful feature set is its pricing. The service reportedly implements a flat, one-time setup fee depending on your business and training requirements. According to the site, any plan comes with a dedicated success team for your account.

        Although small companies are welcome to try, midsize to enterprise-scale organizations are probably the best segment to readily adopt this LMS solution.

        Take a look at some examples of Absorb in this video:

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        5. Watershed Collaborative

        Created by a group of educators, this nonprofit rethinks the priorities of an LMS, asserting that too many systems miss the most essential elements of what makes learning stick. They promise a better user experience – emphasizing Learning before Management and System.

        Watershed aims to support an inquiry-based learning experience through an integrated mix of online and in-person learning strategies and interactions designed expressly for teams – including collaboration, reflection, and dialogue.

        While Watershed was founded initially to serve the K-12 education market, the company has since expanded its scope to cater to all types of teachers and learners with its video-rich, state-of-the-art platform.

        If you’re a mission-driven educator, content creator, institution, or business, this LMS may be the one for you.

        Watershed specializes in assisting you with the instructional design of courses and provides content production services to ensure top-quality video assets with lasting value. Their LMS makes it easy for course creators to continuously update and tailor content to support small and large groups, while ensuring the technology and instructional strategy supports communities of learners.

        Pricing varies based on products and services, but revenues support the nonprofit’s ability to make its platform and courses available at little or no cost for high-need educators and educational settings.

        Honorable Mentions

        There are dozens of LMS vendors in this growing market and the brands included in foregoing list are by no means the only viable options for companies or learning institutions looking to upgrade their learning infrastructure.

        Many other excellent services are worth checking out. These include:

        1. Docebo is an LMS designed for hyper-engaging students, employees, customers, and other learners. The system helps organizations identify and resolve competency gaps with strategic learning interventions.
        2. Cornerstone OnDemand is a talent, training, and performance management solution offered as an SaaS (Software-as-a-Service). This service enables learners to create personalized playlists of instructional content.
        3. Lessonly is an LMS solution that makes it easier to recall and reinforce whatever skills or knowledge you have learned through quizzes, coaching, and constant practice.
        4. Skillsoft is an online training and corporate learning platform developed by a two-decade old and billion-dollar company with the same name.
        5. D2L BrightSpace is a learning management system that has all the basics for delivering excellent, rich-media experiences for classroom or workplace training.

        Conclusion

        There are many ways to learn but some are more effective and meaningful than others. Whether you are a teacher looking to enhance classroom learning or an HR manager creating a long-term talent development plan for employees, the key to impactful learning is to understand and bridge the needs of learners, the goals of your institution, and the actual capabilities of the learning tools you are considering.

        Note that using multiple LMS platforms is possible although not recommended. On the other hand, adopting other learning solutions beyond LMS (such as podcasts, mentoring, and onsite in-person workshops) may significantly improve learning outcomes. Always go for products and plugins that seamlessly integrate into your core LMS tool.

        Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

        Reference

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