This blog post is the English translation of this post. Because the content gets rather lengthly, I decided to split it to two posts.
Last Sunday I had the opportunity to attend the finals of “effective learning methods” by the Cultural Organizations of Student. Though observing time was short, I feel very interesting with the creation of participating teams. From the professional journals-like reports, to intelligent and witty answers on stage, all showed that participants have a very strong grasp of their learning methods.
The competition wraps up with the winning of team “Dai Nang No”(Great Advance) from the Open University. The remaining teams also gained valuable lessons and lots of fun. However, when the game was over, I feel a little anxious. Student Culture House held the contest to stir the improvement of student learning. But is it really effective?
For a long time, the press has prompted many to complain that their new students are not guided, some was shocked transferring into the university environment. But I’m not sure that hundreds of students sat in the auditorium of the competition, how many percent can apply the methods presented today.
Why do I say that?
Frankly, the “learning method” itself is not the matters of saying and remembering. Learning method is not knowledge.
Knowledge is something static, unchanging, can be recorded on paper. Methods, by contrast, are dynamic knowledge. You can’t learn it by heart, you can write it to papers in case of forgetting. It’s the matter of practice.
Just like learning martial arts, no one can learn by reading or watch others perform. Learners themselves need to practice, so feel each move, each piece of the new technique can be applied. To study a “method”, a learner must apply it, experiment it, flip back & forth his/her problems. Then he can adjust the method to suit the circumstances and character style.
Let’s talk about the most simple: writing letters. 90% of the letters were written by hand, but Nguyen Ngoc Ky, and many other disabled people do by foot. On learning, some people learn best alone, others prefer learning in libraries. Each method has advantages and disadvantages, depending on who all practiced.
So the question here is: How to apply effectively new studying techniques?
In my opinion, students should note the following when adopting a new method:
- The learning methods are merely tools, not a universal key. There’s no silver bullet.
- Set a Goal. It can be simple like: I will learn 1 hours at 6 am everyday for a week. Goal itself has the ability to create motivation. This can be considered as the most important thing, help the learner orientation “on track” to overcome obstacles in the learning process.
- Notice habits & personal characteristics. Habits form actions, actions form destiny. Choose and form your desired habits, it’s a great asset.
- Discipline, autonomy of learners. At begin, it’s hard. As soon as it become a habit, it’s easy. Learn to make your habit.
- Review and self-regulation: nothing can be perfect at first try. Do it again and again, improve minor things in every circulation. At last, things change
- Group learning: not a big deal. It’s great to learn new things from different people.