The world is changing fast. Technology continues to advance at lightning speed and anyone who doesn't keep up is in danger of being left behind. As a result, the way students study has changed significantly. While books still remain a valuable tool, the need to spend hours and hours sitting in the library has reduced dramatically. Students now have numerous options available to them when it comes to learning techniques.
Databases and eJournals
Since the introduction of eJournals and online databases, the amount of information a student can realistically find has increased dramatically. While it used to mean taking out books and scouring them for relevant information, you can now search for specific words and phrases within journals and academic writing. This can dramatically speed up the research process. There's also the possibility of finding excellent information buried within a text you wouldn't have thought to look at.
Wikipedia, the online encyclopedia, may be frowned upon in most academic circles because its content can be modified by anyone, but there's no doubt its introduction has been a game changer. A 2008 study of students who use social networks found that while 73 per cent of students are told by their professor not to use the site, 90 per cent admit to having done so in order to complete a paper. Despite fierce criticism of the site for its inaccuracy, many students see it as an excellent starting point for research and a way of familiarising themselves with a topic. It's also common for students to use the references at the bottom in order to find additional related sites.
If used correctly, social media can productively enhance learning. Some colleges have their own Facebook pages and discussion boards, allowing students and professors to share links and ideas in a straightforward, instant fashion. Regular blogging is also useful, especially if most of the class is participating, as it allows students to read and comment on each other's ideas outside of study hours.
Presentation software is a staple of college campuses which professors can use to simplify the study process for students. Computer-based slide shows can be used to add variety to a lecture and make it more interactive. More importantly, teachers regularly e-mail the slides to students or upload them to the Internet. This allows students to recap what's been said in a lecture without having to rely to heavily on the note-taking process, where information can easily be missed.
The Internet has almost everything readily available at your fingertips, which, aside from the positives, can lead to a lot of distractions. There's a great temptation to start mindlessly browsing Facebook, watching YouTube videos or playing online games. Even before the Internet, procrastination was still a problem among a high percentage of students, but there are certainly more distractions online than in the quiet room of a library. As a result, strong time management is more valuable for students than ever.