Practicing New Study Habits

Cultivating a clearer focus

Remote learning requires a different approach to studying. Motivation and reducing distractions are key. Time management is essential. Remind yourself what you are trying to accomplish. What do you need to get done today? Tomorrow? This week? This quarter? We know that it is hard with all of the uncertainty, but try to stay motivated.

The downside of multitasking and microtasking

Assignments take longer. Each time you come back to an assignment (from Instagram for example), you have to get familiar with it, find your spot, remember what you were going to do next, etc.

You’re more likely to make mistakes. Distractions and switching between tasks tires out the brain.

You remember less. When your brain is divided, you’re less able to commit what you’re learning to long-term memory (because it doesn’t get encoded properly into your brain).

Do this instead.

  • Focus on one thing at a time.
  • When you need to study something important, consider The Magic of Monotasking.
  • Take breaks between tasks. It’s important to move around at least once every hour. You can set an alarm as a reminder.
  • Consider the “pomodoro method” to help you focus for 25- or 50-minute periods and then reward yourself with 5- or 10-minute breaks.

Create a virtual learning community

Consider creating a virtual learning community to help you stay accountable. Your peers can help you learn the material and you can mutually support each other staying on track.

  • Stay in touch using Google.groups, sending a group text or using online apps such as Google Hangouts, Zoom, GroupMe, WhatsApp, or however you’d like.
  • Meet regularly and set a purpose for your meetings.
  • Articulate clear timelines and deadlines.
  • Help each other monitor progress.
  • Listen, be empathetic, generous, and kind. We are all in this new learning environment together.

Adapted from "Adjusting Your Study Habits with COVID" from the Center for Academic Innovation, University of Michigan.