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Simplify learning #1: How can I simplify learning at home? am 6. April 2020
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Themen: home-learning , simplify learning , study

Simplify learning #1: How can I simplify learning at home?

Learning the right way is especially tough under the current circumstances. Your daily routine has changed and switching to remote learning requires you to work independently.

Learning techniques cannot take the load of learning off your shoulders, but they help you structure and optimise the way you study.

It is important that you choose the approaches and methods that fit you best personally. Learning is a highly individual process, but you can get support and inspiration from others. Last but not least, learning always pursues a goal. Think about your personal learning goals, as this will support and motivate you especially in this exceptional situation.

General tips for learning

  • One of the most effective first steps is to recite or echo the learned material, no matter if orally, in writing or graphically – highlight, summarise and/or recite the material out loud, draw it or write a poem. Try out which techniques you prefer and what fits your situation best. Do not forget: There is usually more than one way to reach a
  • Do not study too much similar material one after the other. Studying similar material at the same time tends to make it harder to memorise the content.
  • You forget most shortly after In this phase, it is important to repeat the material again and again. Later, you can extend the intervals between repetitions.
  • The more detailed and complex the learning material is, the more repetitions are
  • Evaluate your learning progress and reward yourself for what you have

We have compiled a list of learning techniques that could help you with remote learning.

Structure your material

A method for focusing and getting an overview:

  • In a first step, evaluate the quantity of the learning
  • Structure the material by highlighting the most important parts (titles, key statements) and avoid getting lost in
  • Only start studying after you have structured the material.
  • A good way to structure – and study – learning material is to write a summary.

PQ4R Method (Preview – Question – Read – Reflect – Recite – Review)

PQ4R Method (Preview – Question – Read – Reflect – Recite – Review)

PQ4R Method (Preview – Question – Read – Reflect – Recite – Review)

PQ4R Method (Preview – Question – Read – Reflect – Recite – Review)

PQ4R Method (Preview – Question – Read – Reflect – Recite – Review)

PQ4R Method (Preview – Question – Read – Reflect – Recite – Review)

PQ4R-Method (Preview – Question – Read – Reflect – Recite – Review):

This method is helpful when you are faced with large amounts of material (script, textbook, specialised literature).
It consists of the following steps:

  1. Preview: Get an overview (use also tables of contents, compendiums, summaries, overviews, etc.). Divide the text into sections and apply the following four steps to each section.
  2. Questions: Formulate questions about each
  3. Read: Read each section carefully and try to answer the questions you have
  4. Reflect: Try to understand the text and relate the information to your previous
  5. Recite: Try to answer all questions you have asked in every section. Reread the passages that are difficult to
  6. Review: Go through the whole text again in your mind. Remember the most important points. Try to answer the questions that you have asked

You will notice quickly which of the steps of this method are helpful for you personally and to what extent. Experience has shown that the method is helpful and is often adapted to individual learning needs.

Flash card deck

Flash card deck

This method is suitable for studying extensive material that is well structured in relatively isolated information units (frequently used definitions of terms, formulas, mnemonics, vocabulary, etc.).

  • Write small units of information on flash cards: the question is written on the front and the answer on the back of the flash card.
  • To organise information in categories, it is helpful to use colour coding.
  • When you start studying, take the flashcards and work through them. In the next rounds, put the cards you already know aside and focus on the rest of the cards. This way you can realistically evaluate your learning

Acoustic learning

Acoustic learning

This method is useful for people who are very good in recalling heard information:

  • If possible, use streamed lectures, but it is also a great option to record the learning material in your own
  • Put emphasis on what you are saying, vary the volume, select a pleasant pace and leave “pauses for thought”.
Remote learning


Teaching at the University of Vienna will take place in the form of remote learning until presumably 30 June 2020 due to SARS CoV-2.

Information about what this entails and how we can make the most of the period of remote learning together is available for prospective and current students here.

Simplify learning #7: Writing theses

Are you currently writing your thesis? Then you will surely have noticed that strategies that may have worked for shorter papers do not work for theses. The Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL) has compiled tips that you can easily put into practice and that will help you plan your bachelor’s or master’s thesis.

Four tips for dealing with uncertain situations

The current semester is probably going differently than you had expected: During the period of remote learning exams are held online and courses take place via video conference. These exceptional circumstances bring a lot of uncertainties with them. The CTL has collected four tips for dealing with uncertain situations.

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