An App to educate time management and study habits
Perhaps the most valuable thing about STUDEAM, the app that plans homework and study (see video DEMO), is not so much in the novelty that it is able to organize a student’s homework well. It is true that this novelty is very interesting due to its immediate practical advantage and we have already described many of the benefits associated with the calculation of an objective, pedagogical, immediate planning and optimal use of time. But in this post we want to focus on the real purpose of the app: to educate study habits.
Acquiring a good study habit is a main goal in education. It refers to the way of working, to how things are done and how to learn and not to what is specifically learned. The development of a good study habit profoundly marks student’s learning and academic results, in addition to shaping his maturity in a special way. We all sense that it will have a lot to do with the quality of the professional that you are going to become.
A highly valuable skill
In scientific studies about its influence on academic performance, the study habit is frequently included as part of study techniques and planning – time management. There is no doubt that these represent the key improvement path where teaching can be of influence.
From the perspective of time, a good study habit could be described as the constant and regular performance of the study tasks that you have to do when you have to do them and for the time it takes to do them. It is one of the first work disciplines that we acquire in countries where schooling is compulsory. We can assume that it serves as preparation for the future.
Self-control and self-knowledge
Acquiring a good study habit requires four key ingredients in our opinion: self-esteem, motivation, self-control and self-knowledge.
STUDEAM is a digital application. Self-esteem or motivation will not be dealt with directly. But with the data it asks for and the results it offers, by its use it is directly promoting self-control and self-knowledge in order to encourage a good work habit, at the same time that it facilitates the step to action.
And it does this in two powerful ways:
1st through the user experience with the tool
2nd by making user activity transparent to third parties
We are going to present the first of the ways of development of self-control and self-knowledge, which refers to the interaction of the student with the tool.
Reflection on the framework to educate study habits
If students want to be serious about growing in a good study habit, they must set aside time each day for steady study. They must reflect and make a decision about it: How much time would they set aside for study each day to carry out the course? In what time slots could they do it regularly? As tutors we usually make this approach to our students and their families. This is also educating the habit of study.
STUDEAM needs students to communicate that regular study schedule on which, by default, they will be working while there are tasks to carry out. Saying “default” is a very important nuance. It is useless to postpone a task for a later time / day because now they don’t feel like it and it could also be done tomorrow if the due date allows it. It is useless because we do not know what new tasks or contingencies will be added tomorrow. The future is uncertain and we should be faithful to the decision to take advantage of the time we have set aside for work. Many students do not make this reflection and their commitment to regular study times is minimal. They only get to work at the last minute.
STUDEAM also requests the time slots in which the student would be willing to study in case there was a peak of work. It is the extra study hours that only come into play when there is a strict need. For example, if you normally go for a walk from 8:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m., you could stay home when necessary and take one more hour of study for emergencies.
This moment of scheduling is an important time to make a commitment and grow in self-knowledge. It is a schedule that can be modified from personal day-to-day experience. The tool constantly pushes this reflection about the framework, since it always plans the tasks within that framework and makes it visible, reminding the student of its purposes. You will check if that regular schedule is sufficient or has fallen short of the usual volume of work you have to do.
For many, overtime means a further degree of reflection. In addition, it asks students to decide how often they will take short breaks to regain attention. Thus, again it affects self-knowledge. We believe that taking these steps seriously contributes to educating the study habit.
A dynamic of constant evaluation
Self-knowledge is fostered by the evaluation dynamics that the daily use of the tool requires. Each task is created with an estimated time of completion, for which students have to reflect minimally and ask themselves: how long would it take me to finish it well?
Every time users require a new planning, the tool reminds them of the tasks to review in order to set a new estimated time. I.e.: in what state are the tasks now? If I haven’t finished them, how long do I need to do it? Without this update Studeam cannot plan in the way the user needs it to. Students have to review constantly what has been done if they want Studeam to plan well for them.
This process of self-knowledge is closely linked to self-control. When we become aware of where we really are, then we can readjust our action to achieve the objectives. Wrapping yourself in ignorance, telling yourself “I’ll do it later”, or “I still have time”, without having reflected and visualized a planning that contrasts it, is just the opposite. There is no room for self-control.
The tool itself presents you with those tasks that require a priority update before executing a new planning, reducing noise, shortening times, focusing attention on what needs evaluation.
In a future post, we will recap the above and will go on to describe how Studeam enhances a good study habit by making its activity evaluable by third parties.
Luis Javier Álvarez
High School teacher and CEO at Task & Time