Certainly the kids today, at college may not study as much as the students of earlier times . But, this should not surprise any one. In fact, studying as a way to gain information need not be as intense as it used to be. I must confess that after some initial study, I get a lot more material for what I need in my writings simply by Googling! More creative, clever and well focussed you are, more readily can you get the materials through internet, web, … that support your point of view, contradicts it or augments what you have in mind in some fashion. Isn’t that what studying intended to help accomplish any way? Sure, I may not always be able to quote from memory something appropriate from a note worthy person. But, I can readily get such quotes with a quick and smart googling exercise.
But, the real loss of study habits is the lack of discipline to study in depth, when it really matters! Have you noticed the e-mail communication at work or personal matters? Nobody wants to read a long e-mail any more. Nobody bothers with the subject heading as well! I have seen e-mails chains, that go for days. In the end, the content of the e-mail exchange has changed so substantially, yet I see the subject heading which is absurdly different with respect to the on going information exchange! Worse yet, people are writing and replying based on the first few sentences of the last e-mail they read, as if the subject on hand is entirely new! Also, the e-mail exchanhes goes on endlessly, even though most often the information they need is right in the e-mail chain, of course conveyed earlier and hence at the bottom of the pile!
Another serious loss is the frequently heard comment that many bills are passed by congressmen, with out ever having read them in detail! Professors are busy writing papers, with very few ever reading the papers in details! Recall the recent news that the oil spill disaster recovery plan of all major oil companies submitted to the federal government, was exact copy of others, including the protection of animals that never existed in the gulf coast? This is another glaring example of a lack of discipline to read by the regulators, when it really matters! It is suspected that all these plans were the Xerox copy of each other!
In other words, loss of study habit to some extent is fostered or hindered by current available means and tools. But, these tools, instead of making a larger population efficient in their communications, are leaving them farther and farther behind in such skills. The only way to avoid such pitfall is for the individuals to assume their self ownership to realize that reading is not just a mechanical chore. Instead good study habits and reading are skills that enhance vocabulary, comprehension, assimilation of ideas and synthesis of arguements to arrive at conclusions. Those few who recognize this will find good study habits as a tool for life long learning. It is sadly true that those who see study habits such as reading in this light are relatively few. Those who teach reading from this larger context are even fewer!
For more comments by others, on this topic go to: http://www.wbur.org/2010/07/09/studying-less/comment-page-1#comment-21129