Whether it is in or out of the classroom, we all strive to be the best learners we can be. However, while we might all aim to be that, we all have a unique way of understanding things and sometimes it is not easy understanding what is going in class no matter how hard you try. Not to worry, there is always a way to learn. It might not be in the traditional sense, but with effort and dedication, it can be just as effective.
An easily accessibly resource, notecards are a great way to help one study. Notecards help break down information and make you think of what it is that you really struggle with or what needs to be the focus of that subject.
The simple task of creating the notecards helps you remember the topic at hand, pointing out segments that might need more attention as you go through them. Half of the work of studying is done while creating your notecards.
Once made, notecards are easy to carry around. You can pull them out during dinner (if allowed), while relaxing, on your way to school or in any spare moment when you have the need to go over something that you might still not understand or forgotten.
Notecards are great tool for mini quizzes. Another way to use them is as quiz cards. Using the front to write questions/equations and trying to figure them. If you can not, you can always look at the back, where you have written the answer. Being portable, it is easy to keep on challenging yourself wherever you go. Notecards can be said to be a student’s best friend.
Now many parents frown upon this method, but if you are serious about your education it could be a great tool for you. Just as its name suggests, a study group is a group of people who meet to study a particular subject and report their conclusions to the rest of the group. Joining or creating a study group may suggest further procrastination and distractions from the actual task of studying, but with the right group of people, you can make learning so much more efficient and help your peers succeed as well.
Study groups are ideal for helping each other using each others strengths. A great technique is breaking up the subject at hand into groups, each creating the notes for said subject and each party sharing their notes amongst the group. Going through the notes together helps everyone further studying their own notes, but also gives you a chance to ask your peers for clarifications and also test their knowledge. For more psychological reasons, study groups promote a sense of comradeship and support system encouraging everyone to succeed together.
Study groups open up the floor for discussion and an exchange of ideas on how to understand information in a different manner. Depending on the subject, conversating about the subjects allows you to process the ideas of the subject and also explore other trains of thoughts, allowing an understanding of the subject in a different manner.
For some, hearing the subject at hand is more effective for being able to process the information. Audio listening is a verbal learning tool. Although not a popular method, it has proven to be an effective manner in the sense that just like notecards, it is easily accessible and portable.
Now for audio files, there are two popular ways to go about it. The first being to take a recording of the class session that you are studying for. Simply taking a recorder (now easily found on your phone) to class and recording it is the first step. Now you can listen to the session outside of classroom and perhaps take notes of parts you did not understand or simply use it to refresh your knowledge.
The second is recording the notes that you took during class, using your own understanding of the lesson as the audio reference. This way, you have already made the lesson understandable to your self and so you do not have to worry about breaking down the lesson again.
Audio recordings are a good learning tool because they provide the exact information and interaction of the lesson. Some people may have asked questions that you find you have later and all the responses are there on the recording. It can also easily be shared and copied so that it is a reusable reference. And just like notecards, audio recordings are portable, so you can take your learning with you wherever you go.
One other way of audio listening is to follow podcasts that are themed on the subjects. A podcast is a series of digital audio (or video) files that a person can download and listen to. Now podcasts do require a bit of internet connection, but once downloaded they are easily accessible for as long as you need them.
There are many podcasts out there to choose from so it might be a bit challenging finding one that you are comfortable with. What is great about the variety that is out there is that everyone has a different way of understanding a subject, so you can find a podcast that best suits your learning methods as well!
Podcasts tend to be by enthusiast or experts on the subject so whether it is history or mathematics, you are sure to get well researched information on the subject. They are also good resource because they tend to run on specific subjects, so you can follow many episodes that are relevant to what you are learning in class.
Similar to podcasts, video lectures are generally series that follow a themed subject presented by enthusiasts or experts in the field. Video lectures tend to have more visual aids (pictures and diagrams) to the subject so you can also see what is going on.
Those who are visual learners will appreciate the visual aids used in these lectures. They help exemplify the subject and create a broader understanding of it as well.
Video lectures do need a little bit of internet service as well to access them, but many are downloadable like podcasts. Once yours, they are easily portable and reusable.
These are tools that will not just help you learn better, they will help you understand yourself more. it is important to understand how you are best able to take in information and then use that to take in your education as well. We do not all learn the same and so understanding yourself and the way you learn is a step in making sure you are getting the most out of your educational experience.
For more information on ways to help yourself strive for academic excellence, follow the Tuesday editions of the Times of Swaziland newspaper . Also do not hesitate to explore the MTN Educare page on how to be more active in your community while utilising educational resources. For more academic advice, keep your eyes ons our media links for upcoming articles. All links and sources are down below.
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Article by Nsika DM