Week 2 Discussion 1: Learning Online
Week 2 Discussion 1: Learning Online
I have always believed that everything should have a place and that organization is a prerequisite for success in life. I used to believe these were traits that people learned, but now I am convinced that it has to do with genetic predisposition, although, this could be a great topic to open for debate. Studies support the conclusion that Phenotypes (observable characteristics of individuals) are significantly influenced by Genotypes (genetic characteristics) and somewhat modulated by external environmental influences (Bueno, 2019). This body of evidence directly applies to the cognitive function of learning but is beyond the topic of this discussion board. I will not say that a person can’t learn how to be neat and orderly, I’m simply saying that from what I’ve observed, it seems to be an inherent characteristic that you either have or you don’t. My conviction in these ideas does not diminish when it comes to how individuals study. Having been in school for awhile now, I have seen many different types of study plans employed by my friends which incidentally seemed to match their personalities (neat and bordering on type “A” or laid back and questionable). I’ve also tried numerous tactics myself to enhance my academic outcomes.
The VARK Model describes 4 types of learning styles: visual, auditory, reading/writing, and kinesthetic (Fowler et al., 2017). Most medical students use more than one of these learning styles due to the massive volume of information that must be taken in (Fowler et al., 2017). I am unequivocally a visual, reading, and writing learner who needs to see words in print or colorful diagrams flowing out before me. In addition, I feel best when I’m holding a book in my hand or transferring data into a notebook that I can refer back to. Having this type of learning style means I need some place where I can spread out and find the books, pin up the charts, and create visual access to time, dates, and places. Therefore, if I had to choose one effective study strategy that empowered my skills sets of time management, studying, and planning that optimized my strengths, it would be that I took the time to setup an office space in an unused small bedroom where I placed a desk, two printers, an easel with a large wipe away board, a large chalkboard, a bookcase with only books pertaining to class on it, and a timer/clock that I used to time myself for specific learning periods. A large desk calendar enabled me to stay on track for items coming due so planning ahead was made easier. By having this area devoted to my classes, I felt the seriousness of what I was doing, plus I had a private space which I made clear was off limits during the learning sessions. The timer/clock was important because I would study for an hour and then get up for an hour to do things around the house that also had to get done. During that time, I would silently go over the information in my mind which I had just gone over. I could remember better during these short timeframes, which I like to call ‘burst thinking’, since facts just ‘stuck’ better than trying to cram hours of information into a saturated brain that had already gone numb. This strategy gave me the sense that I was getting the schoolwork done efficiently while, at the same time, I was taking care of household chores in a timely manner as well. Utilizing this advantageous technique provided me with great satisfaction in that I felt a solid sense of accomplishment via retention of data and the attainment of study time goals, all while maintaining professional and personal organization.
I am a meticulous housekeeper and fastidious student. Prior to nursing school, I had a 4.0 grade point average and was used to making straight As. Nursing school took me down several notches. I realized very quickly that it was not about memorization of factual details anymore, it was about analyzing a situation and constructing an actual action plan, or something useful from nearly nothing to go by. Humble pie was the dish of the day! It took awhile for me to overcome being told I was wrong or that my patient plan was missing essential elements. Being more of a mechanical learner was a disadvantage and I had to work hard on changing my way of processing information. I had to become a critical thinker. Nursing mandates that critical thinking and problem solving are absolute necessary skills that every qualified nurse must demonstrate. Educators have realized that the unique learning styles of individual students are the fundamental foundations which serve as the base of these elements (Shirazi & Heidari, 2019). Furthermore, students learn best when the instructor tailors the teaching method to meet the learning styles of the student (Shirazi & Heidari, 2019).
I haven’t tried flash cards yet, but I believe these would benefit me because they offer you the ability to make the correct problem-solving selection in a critical thinking scenario with an explanation of the thought process or processes behind the answer. These types of nursing flash cards are a wellspring of knowledge and I have decided to use them for review. I have used Board Vitals which is virtually the same idea, but flash cards are more portable and can be taken with you to be used during any idle time like at a doctor appt, or getting the oil changed in your car, or any other place where you find yourself waiting for any length of time (Fowler et at., 2017). Given my strengths and weaknesses, I feel repetition would ingrain practical concepts for future reference. I will make every effort to add flash cards to my study regimen.
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There is a practice called “Chunking” in which large topics are broken down into smaller segments of information for better recall and absorption, leading to more manageable maneuvering between topics and improved idea consolidation within the mind (Fowler et al., 2017). I have just started using this method for reading long or detailed articles, books, or papers, and I am finding it to be extremely helpful when attempting to traverse new material. I feel this will definitely benefit my study plan.
Mary Ann Keith-Marcus
Bueno, D. (2019). Genetics and learning: How the genes influence educational attainment. Frontiers in Psychology, 10, 1622. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2019.01622.
Fowler, A., Whitehurst, K., Al Omran, Y., Rajmohan, S., Udeaia, Y., Koshy, K., & Gundogan, B. (2017). How to study effectively. International Journal of Surgery: Oncology, 2(6), e31. https://doi.org/10.1097/IJ9.0000000000000031.
Shirazi, F., & Heidari, S. (2019). The relationship between critical thinking skills and learning styles and academic achievement of nursing students. The Journal of Nursing Research, 27(4), 1-7.