Encourage Deep Learning by Emphasizing Study Time

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Research shows that the amount of time spent studying isn’t as important as the quality of learning. Students that study for longer don’t always do better. Instead, it’s the depth of learning, that counts. The depth of learning refers to a student’s attitude and approach towards learning,(1,2).   However, putting emphasis on the amount of time students study is important for achieving the right depth of learning, what academics refer to as Deep learning.

Deep learning involves higher order thinking such as analysis and application, whereas surface learning involves rote memorization or cramming. Deep learning results in better long-term memory retention. By focusing on the amount of time students spend studying, higher education institutes can push students towards developing a deeper, more engaged learning approach. This will ultimately result in a higher academic performance.

3 Reasons the Amount of Time a Student Studies is Integral to their Quality of Learning

1.Inspires Reflection

Asking students to calculate the number of hours they would ideally like to study for an exam requires reflection. Students have to ask themselves: how well do I want to do on this test? How well do I know the content already?How long is it going to take me to accomplish this goal?

Not only is goal setting important for managing pre-test anxiety, it’s also one of the hallmarks of deep learning.

2.Encourages Routine

Professors should be encouraged to suggest the amount of time necessary for reviewing course material, each week. This allows students to connect class and study time as paired elements of their schedule. It thereby encourages studying as a routine practice that is integrated into their weekly lifestyle. Useful resources for developing study routines are scheduling apps, time-management counsellors and study timer apps.

3.Encourages Exploration

When students study for shorter, more frequent pockets of time, they will more decisively understand which study methods work best for them. Moreover, a study routine lets students experiment with how they learn best. Neurologically, integrating information through multiple different senses improves long-term memory formation. Therefore, students should be encouraged to study using many different styles —for example, taking hand-written notes one day, then using an online cue-card app the next. Have you tried encouraging students to study for a specific amount of time? Has it worked? Share your thoughts, experiences and inspirations below!   This post was written with the help of the follow resources:

  1.     Nonis, Sarath A, and Hudson, Gail I. “Academic Performance of College Students: Influence of Time Spent Studying and Working”. J. Ed for Business. 81.3 (2006): 151-159. ERIC. Web. https://eric.ed.gov/?q=time+spent+studying&id=EJ745268
  2.     van den Hurk, M.M., Wolfhagen, H.A.P., Dolmans, D.H.J.M., and van der Vleuten, C.P.M. “The Relation Between Time Spent on Individual Study and Academic Achievement in a Problem-Based Curriculum”. Advances in Health Sciences Education. 3.1 (1998): 43-49. Springer. Web. http://link.springer.com/article/10.1023%2FA%3A1009732511707



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