Study Skills/Alternative Techniques

From Wikibooks, open books for an open world
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Study Technologies[edit | edit source]

Each person has a certain learning style, which can only be discovered through experience. A mix of new technologies can enhance your learning experience. Here are some avenues to explore:

Text to Speech[edit | edit source]

If you are studying a text that is available as a text file or on the Internet, you can probably convert it into a spoken-word presentation at little or no cost. But don't just listen to it -- for best results, read and listen at the same time. A multi sensory experience has more impact. Also, listening to spoken text while reading it deals with a little-known problem of modern readers, who tend to skim and skip even while they think they are reading.

The text-to-speech programs that can be found on sites such as (search with key words "text" and "speech") have come a long way from the emotionless computerized voices of yesterday. Read more about eSpeak, an open source text to speech program, on Wikipedia.

Mind Mapping[edit | edit source]

A mind map can help manage information related to a topic.

Many schools have tried to teach students outlining skills. The ability to "write down the bones" of a body of knowledge was thought to be a key to understanding it. With the advent of personal computers, elaborate outlining programs were released which tried to minimize the drudgery involved, but the outlining fad faded out. (A very simple, useful, and inexpensive software outlining program is Vault, available for evaluation here)

A very easy-to-use free open-source Java-based mind mapping style application is FreeMind. It is important when you first learn about mind mapping to practice determining keywords, one per link in your mind map.[1]

Speech to Text[edit | edit source]

You can take your lecture notes and convert them into typed text with Speech recognition software, which translates your speech into typing. An open source and free speech to text software can be had in KDE Simon.

Independent study[edit | edit source]

Often getting ahead in school involves independent study of subjects related to your coursework. While this may be intimidating to most of us who have been trained to rely on a teacher's guidance, the benefits of engaging in independent scholarship are well worth the effort.

Benefits of independent scholarship include:

  • More individualized content
  • Quicker and more efficient coverage of the material
  • Improving of study skills overall
  • self-directed study helps you to discover your personal learning style
  • the skills gained from independent study can be applied to your other coursework. these skills include time management, organization, research and writing skills, and engaging creatively with the material.
  • can help you explore your interests, and might even lead to a change in major
  • concepts from one course area can be used to think creatively about others, such as psychology, anthropology, sociology; can be studied as an interdisciplinary major

The only downside to independent study is that you may not receive official credit for your work. If this is an issue for you, you can choose to study towards a certain test that will advance your academic career. However, know that most professors would be thrilled to have people in their classes who have read widely concerning the subject matter, and have something original to contribute to class discussions. So many students are just there because they have to get a degree to get a job, and the professors will be impressed that you studied subjects on your own just for learning's sake. You can also receive credit for independent study from the CLEP, or college level examination program. Check with your school to see what their policy on CLEP is.

Self-directed study involves a dramatic paradigm shift wherein one is responsible for one's own learning. It is a great test of one's will power and determination, and depends on your attitude toward the subject and towards learning in general.

In ordinary school learning is seen as building up the major concept from smaller ideas. For example, one learns how to do individual tasks in algebra and then comes later to the realization of the nature of the overall idea of algebra.

Self-directed learning demands the opposite, that you first grasp the main idea of the subject area you wish to study and then fill in all the blanks. It is a skill that takes time to develop.

See Also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]