Succeed in School: 5 Tips on Online Learning
Online education has its conveniences, but it can also be challenging. Students might not be familiar with the setup and they might find limited interactions difficult. They might also face a lot of distractions at home, encounter technical problems, and experience time management issues.
While learning online is not easy, it does not have to be an unpleasant and fruitless experience. There are ways to make it gratifying or at least not as taxing as how some would find online learning to be. Consider the tips on online learning below as you embark on a learning journey with a better perspective.
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Set Goals and Schedules
It’s important to treat online learning as a major undertaking or project. As such, start by setting goals to establish your direction and have the basis for your progress.
You might be tempted to procrastinate if you take an online course that you can complete at your own pace. That’s why you need to make sure that you set a timeline for the entire course to ensure that you study all the topics that you must learn. This also makes it easy to track your progress. Allocate specific periods for the topics to be covered. You can also try the Pomodoro Technique to help you complete your goals more effectively.
On the other hand, if you are attending an online class, your pace will be structured and dictated by an instructor, However, this does not mean you don’t have to set goals. Make sure that you study every required reading in class and turn in assignments on time. You can also carefully read the syllabus and your instructor’s rubrics and plan accordingly. Doing so can also help you aim for and attain excellent grades.
One of the challenges of online learning is that the learner will have to take more responsibility in achieving success. Unlike in the traditional classroom setting where a teacher can exercise authority over students, it is difficult for teachers to have significant control over a class. Some students may leave the class and makeup excuses like having a technical glitch or power outage.
Even if you do not go as far as making up excuses to get out of the online class, you could be undermining your online learning process by not focusing on the teacher, chatting with other students secretly, or playing games discreetly. Ensure self-discipline to stay focused. If the temptation to do other things is too strong to resist, impose measures that will make it difficult for you to do unnecessary things. You may want to put your smartphone and other gadgets away or uninstall unnecessary apps from your computer. You can also set time for your studies and leisure, and be sure to stick with your prescribed schedule. To make online learning work, you must hold yourself accountable.
Distractions are a common issue in online learning. Not everyone has a soundproof bedroom or home library where they can attend an online class without worrying about ambient noises, pets, and activities that draw their attention. Plus, there’s the convenience of being able to leave anytime to grab a drink or get a bathroom break.
It is important to get rid of all these sources of distraction. One way to do it is to get noise-canceling earphones, which are quite effective in blocking off external noise. Another option is to set up the laptop or tablet in a way that forces you to look at the wall or an outdoor view that is unlikely to have something distracting.
You can also install apps on your computer that prevent you from doing anything other than paying attention to your class. Freedom App and RescueTime, for example, allow you to block websites and apps on your computer that may tempt you into doing something else.
Participate Actively in Class
It is easy to be distracted and unmotivated with your online class if you do not commit to it. As such, make it a point to actively participate in the learning session. Respond to the teacher’s questions accordingly. Take down notes. This not only helps you retain information but also forces you to concentrate on the class. More importantly, adopt the mindset that you need to get engaged in class. While you can just review the recording of the class later on, being present and active in actual classes makes learning more efficient and effective.
If you find the lesson boring, look for ways to prevent yourself from losing interest in the class. You can ask questions or try to pitch in ideas to promote discussions. Also, a boring class may mean that you find the presentation or discussion easy to digest. If it’s hard, you may be grasping at straws trying to understand the teacher. It’s better to be thankful for the ease than to struggle to comprehend.
Lastly, make sure you care about your health, both physical and mental. During online classes, it can be tempting to plow through all your requirements, power through readings with soda, and stay in front of your gadgets for a long period of time. Remember that keeping your body and mind healthy is essential if you want to succeed in school.
Take breaks in between your study sessions and set boundaries. Eat healthily and get enough sleep to boost your memory and learning. You can also be more mindful in limiting your screen time. Take a break from your gadgets. Go out and have a short walk. This will help you recharge and reset your mind.
Being a Proactive Student
The success of the online learning tips listed above depends on your will to commit to the learning process and shape the outcomes. As the learner yourself, you are in control of how to respond to the knowledge imparted to you. You can control your reaction to the instructor or the way the class is handled. It is up to you if you make the learning journey a success or something you continuously get frustrated about. Learn to be proactive and make the most of the opportunity to learn.
Sarah is an accomplished educator, researcher and author in the field of testing and assessment. She has worked with various educational institutions and organisations to develop innovative evaluation methods and enhance student learning. Sarah has published numerous articles and books on assessment and learning. Her passion for promoting equity and fairness in the education system fuels her commitment to sharing insights and best practices with educators and policymakers around the world.