How Do Students Learn Best

New state standards in the U.S. have led to more research on how students learn best. There are 46 states including the District of Columbia in agreement over the Common Core State Standards, developed for global socioeconomic imperatives that also combine with technology to develop challenging and engaging methods of education young people in the United States. However, getting the standards right and figuring out what students need to demonstrate the most was a considerable undertaking, and the research also had to look into the skills that students must develop in order to learn and apply what they've learned to life. You can read more about the new Common Core State Standards Initiative here. So what are the keys to how students learn best? This article breaks down some of the ways that college students are gaining new grounds in education.

1. Reading and Writing

It's probably the most simple concept, but just reading more and exercising your creativity on paper can help you learn better in college. Don't think it's true? Just take a look at the statistics. In the book, Academically Adrift: Limited Learning on College Campuses, a study was published that followed more than 2,000 undergraduates at two dozen universities that were not identified but represented a varied range of four-year institutions. The study showed that 45 percent of the college students showed no improvement in critical thinking, analytical reasoning, and written communications during the first two years of college. The authors of the book suggested that lack of reading and writing in the first two years was one of the key problems, as many of the students didn't take courses that had more than 40 pages of reading each week or 20 pages of writing each week. Reading could simply mean studying more on average each week or looking for outside material that isn't in your curriculum to jog different parts of your brain and get you thinking more creatively.

2. Fight through Lectures

Students often find that lectures are the most boring classes to attend. Lectures have also been proven to be the worst way to teach college students, as you can't absorb that much into your short term memory. That's why discussion and talking amongst your peers is important—but please, stay on the subject and make it part of the class discussion. One man or woman standing up at the board, talking at you, isn't the best approach for many reasons, but that's probably because no one's really forced the teacher to be more creative or to find other ways of presenting information. If you're tired of listening to lectures, your classmates are as well, but asking questions is key to getting through lectures and also making the information come alive. Another part of this is doing the homework and understanding what the lecture is about. That takes preparation beforehand. In order to ask the right questions, you have to know what the material will be about and be ready when the subject pops up.

3. Group Activities

Students actually pay attention more to their peers and peer instruction is just one way that it's done. Group projects make that into a reality. Having to work with others, teaching them concepts and also turn around and teach a class is incredibly difficult for some. However, it's often the best way that you learn information, because you're learning how to teach it to someone else. If your professor doesn't already have group projects on the syllabus, talk to your teacher more and get comfortable enough to ask about introducing it to one of the class periods. Group presentations don't have to be long and can be presented in one class session. It also keeps things interesting.

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