The education system in the United States is severely lacking when compared to the educational systems of some other countries. In fact, if you’ve spent any time at all reading social media posts, you’ll notice straight away, that most individuals can’t even use proper grammar or spelling; what’s more, is that most don’t even care that their education is lacking. Part of this has to do with the way students are taught, which does little for their long-term retention of topics learned, and the way that the United States values education.
A lot of educational institutions try to force-feed information to students, and expect them to retain the information. As an example, some might think that online colleges, which are becoming more popular every day, aren’t as good as in-person colleges. One reason for this, could be the fact that, most of the time, online colleges permit open book exams. Most likely, because it would be difficult to require otherwise. There really isn’t an effective way to ensure that an online student isn’t going to use their textbook, or other resources, such as the Internet, while taking exams at home. So the use of these resources, is generally allowed.
So this leads to the question: Are students who attend in-person classes more intelligent than online students, merely because they take their exams without the use of outside resources? I think not, and here’s why:
First of all, requiring that a student stay up all night, to cram for an exam, does little for their long-term retention of the information, in which they were tested on. If a student stays up the night before, and studies vigorously for the few days leading up to the exam, they might do very well on the exam, and obtain a high grade, such as an A; however, take that exam, and set it aside, then, a year later, ask that same student to come back, and retake the test. If the student hasn’t been constantly using the material covered in the exam, in order to keep the information fresh, is it likely that the student will return a year later, and still receive an A on the exam?
Most likely not, because it’s likely that the main reason they did so well on the test, was because they studied so much, prior to taking the exam. It’s likely that most of the information, if not used on a regular basis, will be lost as time goes on, especially, if the student needs to cram for another exam during the following weeks, or months.
Being able to stay up all night, and pass an exam the next morning, with little-to-no-sleep, helps no one in the long-term. What’s more important, is the student’s ability to conduct valid research, and find the information they are looking for, especially, in today’s technological world, where information can be found on the Internet, within a moment’s notice, and where information changes so rapidly, that it doesn’t always pay to be an “expert”.
By the time someone graduates from college, it’s likely that most of the material they’ve learned will be outdated anyway, so it’s more important that a student has the skills required to continue learning in the future, by being able to properly search for, and discover the information they are looking for.
So, in the end, it would appear that, while there is nothing wrong with studying for exams in the old fashion way, our world now permits us to learn in new ways. Instead of requiring that students try to remember everything, provide them with the skills to find the information that they require, by taking advantage of the technology that exists.
Filling a student’s mind with a large amount of information, that is likely going to change in the short-term, is likely to result in a student that is unable to cope with our quickly changing world. Instead, the student needs to be able to think for themselves-think outside the box-and use the resources available to them. That being said, I see no problem in the way that online colleges work, as long as the college is a legitimate, accredited, institution.
Students who learn to adapt, and locate the information they are looking for, will likely be of more value to an employer (and to society) than a student that attempts to cram, and remember everything, while lacking the skills to change with the times. I’m forever surprised, by the number of students who are unable to properly locate information for themselves.
So, am I recommending that students become drones, learning nothing, and using technology to retrieve all the answers? Absolutely not!
The point is, that the way students are being taught, has serious flaws, in many areas. The student’s ability to learn, and retain information, will not come from all night study sessions, it will come from repetition, and experience. The longer a student works in a specific field, the more they will start to recall, and the more valuable they will become to society as a whole.