Project introduction and background information
Blended and online learning offer students the flexibility of time and space to study. Therefore, to reap the benefits of such autonomous learning environments, students need to be capable of managing their study time and employ effective study strategies. However, research has demonstrated that many students are using study strategies that are not as effective (e.g., rereading) and their study schedules are mostly driven by deadlines. Academic success is also strongly related to the use of study strategies and the extent to which students self-regulate their learning. As a consequence, it is important to examine the study strategies that students employ and to provide students with support that will optimise their study time.
Objective and expected outcomes
The study aims to examine whether students use effective study strategies and whether the use of effective study strategies is associated with students’ learning performance and self-efficacy in Math.
By identifying the study strategies students are using and how well students are using these study strategies, we could offer students targeted support to equip them with the awareness and knowledge of effective study strategies. Instructional support to enhance learning performance can also be added to the current learning materials to support the use of effective study strategies. For example, providing opportunities to practice recall when watching video lectures.
Results and learnings
The results showed that students' study decisions are driven mainly by deadlines. Interestingly, compared to previous studies a higher percentage of the students in PRIME reported that they planned their study schedule ahead of time and studied according to their schedule. Similarly, a higher percentage of students compared to previous studies also reported that they often spaced out their study sessions over multiple weeks. Therefore, this suggests that students in PRIME are considered effective learners to a certain extent where they plan and space their learning. One of the reasons could be related to how the courses are structured (i.e., prepare, participate, and practice). Students have to prepare before participating in classes, and hence, they are more likely to have a schedule and space out their study sessions. Another reason could be the set-up and structuring of the learning activities in the Learning Management System (Brightspace) for the students.
When examining the study strategies that students used (i.e., rereading and self-testing), students reported that they preferred to reread and use self-testing to figure out how well they have learned the information. Therefore, students appear to use self-testing as a metacognitive tool more than a study strategy. However, given that research has shown that self-testing, also known as retrieval practice, can be a highly effective way to enhance learning performance, students can be encouraged to use self-testing more often as a study strategy.
It is essential to support students in making more informed study decisions by providing them with information or resources to use more effective study strategies, such as self-testing.
The preliminary results were presented in the European Association for Research on Learning and Instruction (EARLI) Special Interest Group on Metacognition conference (11 May 2021). The slides used in the presentation can be found in the downloads.