UMass Lowell project aids students, explores the science behind learning concepts.
High school and college students preparing to return to class will find help to perform well on tests and assignments at a new website dedicated to improving their ability to study and learn.
A team of three researchers including UMass Lowell psychology professor Yana Weinstein recently launched www.learningscientists.org, a resource guide and blog for students, their parents and teachers that promotes strategies for academic success.
“I have been doing research on study strategies for years, but a few months ago I realized most of what I was doing was aimed at other academics and did not reach teachers or students,” Weinstein, an expert on memory and cognition, said. “Our blog and presence on social media have already noticeably changed that, and are providing us with new outlets for our work and that of our colleagues.”
Six effective methods in particular are also presented on posters that can be downloaded and printed. These materials can be found at www.learningscientists.org/downloadable-materials.
Articles on education-focused topics – from the best way to study verb conjugations in a foreign language to the value of a good night’s sleep — are featured in the blog and are written by researchers, teachers and students from across the country. Links to resources are also available.
Weinstein, along with two fellow learning scientists, curates the website’s materials and frequently interacts with the public via the project’s Facebook page, www.facebook.com/AceThatTest, and Twitter account, @AceThatTest, at www.twitter.com/AceThatTest.
In the coming months, the team plans to provide study aids and other information on learning techniques to schools around the world.
Weinstein and Smith have received the support of the Association for Psychological Science, which provided a $3,800 grant to create the posters in collaboration with Oliver Caviglioli, a former educator who produces visual guides on teaching techniques. Augmenting that effort, The IDEA Center, a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving teaching, learning and leadership in higher education since 1975, awarded Weinstein and Smith nearly $10,000 to create videos that explain the study strategies detailed in the posters. When completed, they will be made available on the website.
This fall, Wooldridge will conduct research in her classes to examine the impact of the resources on academic performance. “We already know these study strategies work; now we need to determine whether the information as presented on the posters and in the videos is effective,” Weinstein said.
For more on the current state of education in the Valley, read the special section inside the September/October issue of Merrimack Valley Magazine. Click here to buy the issue.