The inspiration for StudyBlue came from listening to students expressing frustration with the lack of an effective online learning destination where they could make use of the same technologies they were using everyday to find information and communicate with each other. They wanted an online environment they could access from anywhere, and use web-based tools and services to help them gain control and mastery of their class work. They wanted a better place and a better way to learn.
What we’ve created in response to that demand is a web-based platform delivering the experience students expect and respond to. A platform carefully incorporating key learning principles, theory, and insights that have been academically proven to improve mastery, retention, efficiency, and engagement:
Achieving mastery depends strongly on subject matter knowledge:
In studies of expertise in areas as diverse as chess, history, science, and mathematics, researchers find that having the ability to solve problems is dependent upon having a deep understanding of the subject matter (e.g. Chase and Simon, 1973; Chi et al., 1981). That is, to develop competence in an area of inquiry students need a deep foundation of factual and conceptual knowledge. But memorizing sets of disconnected facts is not the same. The critical learning opportunity combines this deep knowledge with critical thinking skills, and that’s what produces a more effective learner.
Organizing information into meaningful partitions helps increases learning retention:
Both note taking and the act of creating flashcard decks on StudyBlue helps students learn to categorize and organize what they’re learning. This partitioning of course material increases the amount of information students can store in short-term memory (Miller, 1956) and helps them retain it longer. By managing the cognitive load of learning students can absorb more knowledge than they would have been able to otherwise, and they can better apply that knowledge across a broader range of contexts.
Frequent, shorter study sessions increase learning efficiency:
Research has shown that experts are made not born (Ericsson, et al, 1992). Experts are made through consistent, deliberate practice. Students become more engaged through shorter, deliberate practice and in the process learn more efficiently. Deliberate practice entails practicing at a level that is appropriately challenging, by setting study goals, and being provided feedback on performance. StudyBlue facilitates and motivates students to undertake deliberate practice.
Students study better together:
Researcher Uri Treisman shows students who study together have dramatically higher academic performance than those who don’t. By studying together, students feel less isolated and more engaged (Treisman, 1992). Research has also proven that providing students with the opportunity to take control of their own learning encourages them to learn (Bransford, Brown, & Cocking, 2002, p. 12). Also, Schwartz shows that having the opportunity to contribute to others’ learning motivates students to engage in their own learning (Schwartz, et al, 1999).
We are deeply committed to helping all students learn, and are intensely focused on providing our users with the most effective, research-based, online learning environment.