Incorporating SD Cards into Learners' Study Habits

Symbol of Excellence - Sign outside Khutliso Daniels Secondary School in Makhanda, Eastern Cape.
Symbol of Excellence - Sign outside Khutliso Daniels Secondary School in Makhanda, Eastern Cape.

By Olwethu Maaotla

The Vulindlela programme at Rhodes University involves a collaborative effort to improve access to tertiary education for local learners. One project implemented to achieve this is the SD card campaign which gives every matric learner at several MAkhanda high schools a SD card loaded with relevant study materials. 

The students at Kutliso Daniels Secondary School encounter a variety of obstacles in their education. When asked about the subjects they found most challenging, their answers varied. However, they experienced shared difficulties. One learner noted difficulty with Business Studies, while another found Economics challenging, and a third had problems with Life Sciences. These subjects are known for being complex, frequently demand additional  resources and assistance beyond what is commonly found in their schools. 

In the field of Life Sciences, topics such as Protein Synthesis and Genetics are known to be exceptionally challenging. A student had trouble with Economics and mentioned issues grasping Market Dynamics and analysing graphs. The obstacles did not end. In Business Studies, a learner struggled with calculating insurance investments without  given formulas. 

The SD cards contained numerous previous exam papers and instructional videos that simplified complex subjects into smaller, more understandable segments. The practice questions and instructional video tutorials proved to be an essential resource. This learner will keep practising these calculations over and over until they are sure of themselves. Another learner also believed they would make great progress in this subject with consistent practice and the help of in-depth explanations. 

One learner stated that the videos on the SD card, which offered visual explanations, were extremely beneficial. Being a visual learner, they discovered that watching the processes happen made it much simpler to comprehend compared to reading about them in a textbook. 

Incorporating SD Cards into Study Habits 

The true measure of the success of the SD cards was in how the students incorporated them into their study habits. Every student I conversed with was a visual learner, so the video materials were especially beneficial. 

They provided me with a thorough explanation of their techniques.

While watching the videos, the learners paid attention to unfamiliar information, making thorough notes as they progressed. However, they did not end their efforts at that point. They would verify this information by consulting textbooks and other online sources like YouTube videos, so they could guarantee a comprehensive grasp of the topic. 

Next, they gathered these notes and selected the explanations and techniques that were most understandable to them. One learner mentioned that in their spare time, they would go back to the videos to review the material they had studied. 

This continual reviewing aided in solidifying the information in their memory. In topics such as Economics, where comprehension of graphs was crucial, the videos offered detailed instructions for the learner to review as many times as needed to grasp the content.

Another learner pointed out that the Business Studies videos focused on important keywords and concepts for exam preparation. They would stop the video, try to respond to the questions given, and then verify their responses. If they answered a question incorrectly, they would replay the relevant part of the video until they grasped it completely. This active learning approach combined with frequent practice was demonstrating great success.

Establishing and Reaching Academic Goals

The learners' academic goals were greatly influenced by the implementation of SD cards. One learner is looking to fulfil the prerequisites for medical school. They were hopeful that the SD cards would assist in boosting their grades every term. They intended to use the videos and practice resources to establish a strong base, so that when they approached their final exams, they would not have to begin studying all over again. They were confident that by using these resources regularly, they could greatly enhance their performance.

Another learner, who had faced challenges with Economics in the previous term, was committed to using the SD card to improve their grades. The thorough explanations and practice materials offered a straightforward way to get better. This learner believed that if they consistently used the resources, they would experience a significant improvement in their grades. 

A third learner, who aims to study Law, had already achieved the minimum requirements in the first term. They are aiming to surpass it and improve their chances of acceptance. They need exceptional grades in History and English and they are positive that the SD cards would assist in reaching this goal.