Mastering the learning method
Learning is hard and especially when we look at how we structure learning. No one takes the time to explain why we teach in a certain manner and why, as students, you need to do what they ask you to do.
Well in Classmaster.io we do! Not only do we go through the various stages of learning but have made a companion tool to get the most out of each stage.
The normal format of learning and how to get more out of it
When we think about learning we think of school, college, university, homework, tutors and a ream of other things which may or may not send a shiver down your spine. The truth is all types of learning have many mechanisms in common that as a student you get thrown into without much explanation. You are learning, but no one quite explains how or why you are doing certain parts of learning. Granted there are lots of innovative apps which help learn certain topics. But at Classmaster.io we are an app to help you learn anything to the best level.
These may sound familiar but the common methods of learning
Lecture – Sit and Listen
Most learning starts like this. With the teacher or lecturer explaining the concepts you are about to learn and then going through them in detail. After which homework and further exercises will be set.
Now some students have the ability to start processing this information in two ways and in effect learn it: the audio listing and the creation of notes. If you were like me and tried to copy this method of listing and notetaking you would have failed fantastically at both. My writing speed is terrible and my mind likes to wander and go through ideas. By copying the “top students” I was destining myself to the bottom.
This phase of learning is a chance to engage with the topic being discussed and to get interested in it. Think about questions you want to answer or angles you want to explore. Taking an occasional note to not forget a question you wish to ask the teacher or explore later is fine. But do not take too many notes if it impacts the purpose of a lecture which is, in essence, to start developing an understanding and being an active participant in the class.
The main fear people have when taking notes is that if it’s not written, how will you ever find the information again, and the illation that it’s a top student method. But usually, all the material is available from the lecture and you can record the lecture if you worry about missing any details (Classmaster.io has a record lecture feature]
Writing up notes and revision is key but don’t do it in the lecture if it prevents the purpose of the lecture which is to chew over the idea and start to come to grips with it. Basically, get excited and start to think it over.
Further thinking and research
Every lecture is a start of an idea and you should have questions you want to have answered by the end of the lecture. So when you are out of the classroom go and find them. Be it finding videos, reading other articles or simply writing out the core concepts and translating them into simpler words.
Now the great thing is if you have recorded the lecture you can simply play it back and pause it at certain points you would like to review. It won’t be new to you so you will already have a good grasp of the content and know which areas you need to go over more in detail and which you can make a simple note of to improve the learning experience. And if you don’t want to write it you can even say it as an audio note and give your interpretation of the subject. There is nothing better than making an improved version of a lecture to show you have nailed it.
We like to think of this stage as getting yourself ready to talk to the teacher again. To refine a point or to have a point to ask about. “What do you think about…?”
Revise and test & re-test & re-test-test
Now the old way is the best way, and knowing you know is a great confidence boost and confirmation your mind has moved that information to somewhere more reliable.
Also just making test material is actually a strong method to get this to happen. Most people do this by use of flashcards but if you make flashcards on your notes just before exam day you are in for a world of pain. To do it efficiently you should make them as you go and regularly test throughout the term. This way you make sure that you fully understand the topic. Even though crunching at the end may get you through the exam, a month later you will not have a clue about what you studied for a year as it flushed out of your short term memory.
Now, this is where Classmaster.io has done a lot of development you can make a range of flashcards; from audio questions that you type the answers to, to traditional spelling cards. You can test your classes as you go and create fake tests pulling a few cards from each lesson. You can even share your classes with other students to practice on their tests (we are still not sure will this feature be used for good!)