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Helping Students Overcome Information Overload

By Bruce A. Johnson, Ph.D., MBA

When students begin a class they are assigned course materials, resources and a syllabus, along with additional information provided by their instructor. As the class progresses the amount of information that students must process increases as they are assigned additional materials, the instructor provides lectures or online classroom postings, and they gather sources for their class work. Do you expect that your students will be able to effectively sort through all of this information in a way that allows them to participate in the process of learning? Students are expected to acquire the relevant knowledge needed to complete their work, while following policies and meeting the instructor’s expectations. Are you able to recognize when students are overloaded and unable to process what they are receiving? Instructors can assist students by establishing an organized approach to information delivery and encouraging them to utilize active learning techniques.

Often the discussion responses and written assignments offer an opportunity for instructors to gauge whether or not students are reading and comprehending materials and sources received. For example, if students are missing assignment deadlines or not following specific requirements they may not be utilizing the course syllabus. If students

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2 Comments for “Helping Students Overcome Information Overload”

  1. Thank you for the thoughtful reply Dr. Aranoff. Your book has done a very good job of explaining the need for (and a definition of) rational thinking. Dr. J

  2. Dr. Sanford Aranoff

    Excellent suggestions! Thanks! Here are some more. See Teaching and Helping Students Think and Do Better. Another point is the importance of teaching how to think rationally. See the new book, Rational Thinking, Government Policies, Science, and Living. Rational thinking starts with clearly stated principles, continues with logical deductions, and then examines empirical evidence to possibly modify the principles.

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