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How One University Uses 'Sneaky Learning' to Help Students Develop Good Study Habits

12/06/2018

Summary

Many students come to university with false ideas about what makes effective studying. The concept of "sneaky learning", as it is being taught to a handful of students at Colorado State University, can help students to develop study habits that will stick.

Student's may believe that studying all the material before a test - cramming - is an effective way to retain material, but studies show that spacing out learning is a more effective way to retain information. Similarly, if students test their knowledge along the way, then the learning outcome is improved. Researchers at Colorado State University applied these ideas in a class taught to first year undergraduate students about effective studying. One student reported "it's like the learning just sneaks up on you".  

But knowing is only half the battle. Technology can make it easier to integrate these changes to habit. For example, a question can be sent to a student's smart device at various time throughout the day followed by the answer a few minutes later.  

Key Points

  • Cramming is less effective than spaced out studying
  • Testing yourself along the way leads to better retention of information

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