Understand why study skills are essential for online learning as they will be a big part of students’ lives even after this school year.

This past academic year has been marked with all kinds of challenges for parents: trying to protect the physical and mental health of the family, helping kids to continue their academic progress, and balancing the demands of work and home while keeping some sense of normalcy. With the pandemic rate of infection subsiding and with the substantial effort with vaccinations, we can optimistically predict the normal school year will be back this fall. School districts are already exploring options to bring more students back to school before the end of the current school year. 

However, we know that this pandemic has changed not only our view of the way we work, travel, and shop. The education system as a whole has experienced tremendous changes, too. The development of education technology has been growing steadily in the last few decades, but the past year’s experience has shown us the need for a new way of learning. In the recent podcast titled “How COVID Could Permanently Change Public Education” from Innovation Hub, Paul Reville, a professor at Harvard Graduate School of Education, talks about how technology will have a tremendous impact on these three areas: expansion of the boundaries of schooling (location or time), family engagement, and personalization.

Whether you like it or not, online learning will continue regardless of the geographical location or time and it’s important to think about how your student and you as a family will adapt to this change. In this article, we will review why gaining the new type of study skills for online learning is important.

1. Study skills in online learning are essential because they create benchmarks to measure the growth and success of students as well as a framework to communicate with parents and educators.

For those who can see it, the new technology gives this generation of students a rare opportunity: they can visualize concepts, practice, and achieve mastery in much less time. It can provide students with insight into their strengths and how they best learn on a much deeper level than in the pre-digital learning era. Effective and efficient instruction and assessment also enable educators to incorporate non-cognitive areas such as social and emotional learning and executive functioning skills, essential parts of  21st-century learning skills

This approach provides students, parents, and educators the opportunity to see students as whole learners, not just letter grades and test scores. It gives a more accurate picture of who they are and goes beyond the surface level to show the students’ underlying struggles. Learning these essential study skills will help students work smarter and allow parents and educators to support them better at home and school. 

2. Study skills in online settings are essential because they build agency and self-efficacy in students, essential qualities for classroom and remote learning environments.

What are some of these study skills that are so critical for online learning? A partial list includes goal setting, time management, note-taking, resource management, critical thinking, communication, flexibility, and adaptability. These are the skills students should have for even a traditional classroom environment. Still, now with the possibility of asynchronous and flipped class instructional methods, these skills become even more essential for learning. 

During this pandemic period, students, parents, and educators all experienced the challenges of online learning. They were not prepared for such drastic change in such a short period. But coming out of the situation, we hope to have a better plan for the future. One of the biggest challenges reported for students has been engagement and the need for offline executive functioning skillsets. Equipping students with appropriate study skills will address these issues and help them learn better with technology, whether in distance learning or the regular classroom environment.

But most students need to be taught, and these skills can be taught. Just as adults on a new job receive job training to perform at the expected level, students need training in these all-important study skills so they can perform at a high level and become independent learners. When students start setting goals and can reflect on their own learning, the whole process becomes much more personal and meaningful. When parents know what specific skills to address with their students, and when educators know how to encourage students to have productive struggles and measure their progress, we are providing a measurable benchmark that shows more precisely how to help the student in online learning settings. 

3. Study skills in online settings are essential because they set students up for success in academics and their future careers.

Lastly, these same study skills are more important than ever for the changing job market. A recently published research article, “Good Jobs in Bad Times” by Burning Glass, lists 14 foundational skills key for all graduates. 

Human Skills

  • Communications
  • Creativity
  • Critical Thinking
  • Collaboration
  • Analytical Thinking

Digital Building Blocks

  • Analyzing Data
  • Managing Data
  • Software Development
  • Computer Programming
  • Digital Security Privacy

Business Enablers

  • Business Process
  • Project Management
  • Digital Design
  • Communicating Data

Even recent college graduates who are just starting their careers often find themselves without these essential skills since they are not traditionally taught in the classroom. This disparity between the skills required for success in jobs and the skills actually taught will only get wider unless we address this issue with our current elementary and secondary school students. We must incorporate ways to increase these skill sets while embracing educational technology as a part of the new normal.

When students, parents, and educators are trained to use the right study skills for the digital learning environment, the learning experience will be personalized to meet each student’s needs and create the building blocks for future career readiness. 

Would you like to know what the essential study skills are and in which areas your child needs to be supported? Take this self-assessment questionnaire. We will send your results with tips on how to improve in those areas. Or schedule a free trial to receive comprehensive diagnostic results in Math, Language Arts, Reading, and Writing.

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