Giving First Year Students the Tools to Succeed

Posted by Megan Grossardt on May 4, 2018 12:29:59 PM

Giving First Year Students the Tools to Succeed


High school graduates often find themselves unprepared for college curricula. Find out how college and university faculty can leverage eLearning tools to bring every student up to speed.

College is a period of significant change for many students: they may be away from home for the first time, navigating new friendships, and working to select a course of study that could shape the trajectory of their future careers. While these new opportunities may be exciting, many first-year students struggle to adjust from the structure of high school to the freedom and flexibility of college life.

According to the U.S. Census and American College Testing Program, of the estimated 18 million students enrolled in college in 2008, nearly 34 percent dropped out in the first year because they were simply overconfident, under-prepared, and lacked realistic expectations about college. New to the responsibility of picking their courses and managing an increased workload, students often enter their first year of post-high school study without the self-management skills they need to stay organized and productive.

So how can college and university educators help students excel when they are already stretched thin? By offering students access to vetted eLearning resources, faculty, and administrators, they can empower new students to master the key competencies they’ll need to succeed in college. Below, we’ll outline four skills that every first-year student should possess, and explore how eLearning tools can bring every student up to speed.

1. Study and Note Taking Strategies


According to a survey conducted by the nonprofit Youth Truth, only 50 percent of high school seniors feel that their high school has helped them develop the skills and knowledge they need to succeed in college. As an anonymous student told the survey’s authors, “the things we learn help us pass tests so we can get a good grade, but we don't learn basic skills for studying that will help us survive in college.”

The ability to study independently is essential for success in college. Class sizes are larger, the faculty has less time to devote to individual students, and test material is often based on what was communicated during in-class lectures. First-year students must be prepared to take detailed notes during class, review those notes outside of class, and use them to create comprehensive study guides prior to midterms and exams. This not only requires organizational skills but an understanding of how best to capture and summarize key concepts. What’s more, digital note takers must be familiar with programs like Google Docs, Evernote, Microsoft Word, and others.

eLearning resources can familiarize first-year students with different note-taking methods, provide strategies on how students can get into the habit of note-taking, and offer instruction as to how students should use various word processing programs — all without taking up valuable time in the classroom.

2. Time Management


Without parents to assist them or the help of personalized attention from their teachers, first-year college students must continually combat procrastination, take ownership of their schedules, and responsibly manage their own homework and reading assignments. College class schedules typically look quite different from what students are used to in high school, and fewer classes a week may seem like a sweet relief. But less frequent, concentrated classes require more independent study — often at unexpected hours of the day.

With access to eLearning resources, students can learn to better prioritize tasks on their to-do list, gain ideas about how to plan for big projects, discover whether they work better in the day or at night, and learn how to beat procrastination.

3. Online Learning


The rise of online learning has made it possible for schools to serve more diverse student bodies and expand their offerings to those who may be learning remotely or part-time. But because online students do not have the luxury of being able to walk up to information desks or speak with professors about assignments after class, administrators must make it easy for them to access resources and use online tools like learning management systems (LMS).

The right eLearning platform will not only integrate seamlessly with your college or university’s LMS but can provide helpful resources that address the unique challenges of learning online — whether students are supplementing their in-person course load with an online class or learning online full time.

4. Independent Work and Research Methods


Perhaps most importantly, college students must learn to work independently. That means budgeting enough time to research and complete a project and learning to outline papers and reports without detailed guidance from instructors. eLearning resources can bring new students up to speed with tutorials on how to efficiently search for information online, evaluate a source's credibility, include a variety of sources in a research project, and grasp the components of information literacy.

How Hoonuit Can Help

eLearning tools enable college and university faculty to extend their offerings beyond the classroom and offer every student the resources they need to succeed. With instant access to courses, assessments, and pathways designed to tackle common challenges, Hoonuit’s robust library of eLearning resources offers first-year students a flexible way to gain the skills they need to thrive in higher education settings.   

Courses on choosing a major, succeeding in an online class, managing money, and research strategies help students develop the discipline necessary to complete college-level coursework and the life skills they need to navigate independence. Hoonuit also offers educators the ability to create original content using a course creation toolkit, housed on an accessible platform that integrates seamlessly with nearly every LMS.

Interested in learning more about what Hoonuit’s eLearning platform has to offer your college or university?

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Topics : Higher Education