Lowell, MA -- (ReleaseWire) -- 09/19/2016 -- 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. The goal is to increase the use of effective study and teaching methods, reduce test anxiety in students and make research on learning more accessible to the public.
"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 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."
Scientifically supported strategies for learning are detailed and discussed on the website. Six effective methods in particular are also presented on colorful posters that can be downloaded and printed so they can be displayed in classrooms or residence halls. These materials can be found at www.learningscientists.org/downloadable-materials. Since becoming available to the public on Monday, Aug. 8, the posters have already been accessed by thousands of users, according to Weinstein, who is an expert on memory and cognition.
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 high quality resources are also available.
Joining Weinstein on the team are fellow learning scientists Megan Smith of Rhode Island College and Cindy Wooldridge of Washburn University, both psychology professors. The three faculty members curate the website's materials and frequently interact with the public via the project's Facebook page, www.facebook.com/AceThatTest, and Twitter account, @AceThatTest, at www.twitter.com/AceThatTest.
Complementing the website, 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 that detail the six study strategies in collaboration 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. Production work on these videos began this week. When completed, they will be made available on the website.
In the 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.
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