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| Published in Interesting Facts | Written by Thomas Stroup

Rolf Schulmeister. How Much Time Has to Be Spent on Education?

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Wondering why your academic score is so low compared to other students? How much time do you spend on average preparing for your classes? Is it 9, 23, 50 hours per week? It’s not all about time, but this issue still matters. A new study conducted by famous German scientist, Professor Rolf Schulmeister, proves that the key to student’s performance is motivation.

The professor of education from Hamburg spend three years investigating the attitude of German students towards the process of studying. The results which have been published recently, equally surprised both other scientists and community. It turns out that there is no direct link between academic performance and time spent on the educational process.

If the diligence does not guide the academic success, what is the point? "The key to success has nothing to do with the intellect or talent. Motivation is the clue," Shulmeister claims. The motivation has a great impact on the dedicated time as well.

Rolf held his research, titled "Overloaded" (Zeitlast-Studie), since early 2009. According to his findings, German students spend on the average only 23 hours per week on tuition. It does not prevent them from complaining of stress. These 23 hours include almost every aspect of learning process: attendance, studying on your own, and even the time spent on the road to the educational institution. There are students who spend no more than nine hours per week. The record time was 50 hours.

All of the students are divided into several groups (according to Schulmeister). Those students who can self-define the rhythm and know how to focus perceive the process of studying in the easiest way. They manage to accomplish much more than many of their classmates within an hour. At the same time, those who avoid difficult tasks experience some hard times. "As soon as it becomes difficult or unclear, they resort to distracting methods like TV or social networks," he states.

There is also a number of external factors that affect the academic performance. "Those are numerous training programs", Rolf Shulmeister says. German universities tend to offer too many different training activities within just one week. As a result, students cannot decide on what theme to work." Within a short period, students have to assimilate a lot of information before the exams and perform numerous essay writing tasks. However, even in case of success all knowledge quickly disappears.

As an experiment, it was proposed to teach the students under modular system conditions. For some technical specialties, the instructors staged the four-week seminars so that the students could focus on one topic. It was a success. (You can read also about: Harvard Primal Scream: Instruction to Freshmen)

For instance, IT students from one of the German universities passed the exam with the better average score than they used to a year before. However, the cost of education has also increased. Instead of the average index, they spend 34 hours a week.

"There are many departments that offer a lot of optional subjects in addition to the primary, so it would be good to introduce a modular approach," Rolf Shulmeister believes. I.e. the classes might be held applying modular system three days a week. The rest of the time must be devoted to the elective classes.

The only remaining question is whether the Bologna system needs an educational reform