Computers Won't Help Weak Study Methods

LINCOLN, Neb., Aug. 12 (UPI) — College undergrads who study ineffectively using paper often transfer bad study habits when using a computer, a U.S. researcher says.

Ken Kiewra of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln says college undergrads tend to study on computers as they would with traditional texts — they tend to mindlessly over-copy long passages verbatim, take incomplete or linear notes, build lengthy outlines that make it difficult to connect related information and rely on memory drills like re-reading text or recopying notes.


Kiewra, an expert in study methods, suggests teachers help students dispel crippling studying myths such as highlighting, outlining and rehearsal and instead teach strategies that help them succeed.

“Learning occurs best when important information is selected from less important ideas, when selected information is organized graphically, when associations are built among ideas and when understanding is regulated through self-testing,” Kiewra says in a statement.

The study, published in The Journal of Educational Psychology, finds undergraduates in the study scored 29 to 63 percentage points higher on tests when they used study techniques like recording complete notes, creating comparative charts, building associations and composing practice questions on their screens.

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