Study Skills in the Digital Age

Study Skills in the Digital Age

Valerie J. Robnolt (Virginia Commonwealth University, USA) and Joan A. Rhodes (Virginia Commonwealth University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-4797-8.ch016


Study skills, as defined by Harris and Hodges (1995), are the “techniques and strategies that help a person read or listen for specific purposes with the intent to remember” (p. 245). With over 34 percent of the world’s, and approximately 79 percent of North America’s, population using the Internet (Internet World Stats, 2012) and the percentage of classrooms in the U.S. that have Internet access increasing from three percent in 1994 to 94 percent in 2005 (Wells & Lewis, 2006), the way that students study and are taught to study must change. To teach study skills, teachers should use the explicit explanation model of reading (Stahl, 1997), which involves the teacher modeling, students practicing with the teacher scaffolding their use of the skills, and then students using the skills independently, using both print and digital texts. This chapter discusses these issues.
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The authors with colleagues (Robnolt, Rhodes, Abrams, & Richardson, 2012) conducted a study of adolescents’ use of study skills with paper-based and digital texts through a survey that was adapted from Rogers (1984). The results indicated that although an overwhelming majority of participants (95.7 percent) reported reading digital texts, for most of the study skills, the participants were more likely to use the study skills with paper-based texts rather than digital texts. Schugar, Schugar, and Penny (2011) found similar results in their study with college freshmen who were given an eReader to use during the semester and reported using study skills, such as highlighting and taking notes, less frequently with the eReader than with traditional paper-based texts. In addition, participants in our study (Robnolt, Rhodes, Abrams, & Richardson, 2012) reported using study skills related to searching for information and comprehending text less frequently than others when reading paper-based or digital texts. In the study by Schugar, Schugar, and Penny (2011), no significant differences were found in the level of text comprehension when reading paper-based texts or eReaders. These results provide implications for instruction at all levels of education.

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