Without a doubt the start of 2020 has been a long, unexpected ride for all of us. Due to the worldwide coronavirus outbreak, many students have had to adapt quickly to the change from learning in class to suddenly learning virtually. With the new transition, professors, teachers, and students around the world have to adjust to how the rest of the academic school year will run.
While the sound of learning from home might sound great for some and daunting for others, most students will face challenges along the way. Time management, being self motivated, and staying organized is key to online learning success and without them you will find yourself dealing with your worst enemy -- procrastination.
But don't you worry! Since most students, including myself, have experienced it already, I’ve created 6 helpful go-to tips that will help you succeed in online learning and help you make the most out of your academic learning experience online.
6 Tips for Online Learning Success
1. Stick to a schedule
Keeping a weekly schedule is a good way to stay on track with all of the online courses you are taking. Since online classes don’t require you to meet your professor or teacher in person, treat the online courses as if you are actually going to attend it in person.
Make sure to wake up on time and perform your daily routine as usual and have your laptop ready to attend Zoom (or other video chat platforms) lectures. Most importantly, plan breaks in your schedule as well as time to study, eat, and do assignments. By keeping a schedule, you will stay on top of your classes and utilize your time effectively.
2. Eliminate distractions
How many of us have at least once gone on social media or have been daydreaming during online lectures or just studying in general? Well, for me I have done it more than once and you probably have as well. Regardless of whether you are in an in-person class or online lecture, the truth is that you will be distracted at some point.
Eliminating distractions is crucial to online learning, simply because you are learning in a home environment where distractions can pop up anytime by surprise, such as your screaming little siblings or your mom yelling at you about doing your laundry.
To eliminate distractions you can start with the following:
- Keep your phone away from you
- Have a designated study area
- Work in minimal noise or in a quiet environment
- Make sure you tell your family members to be quiet when you are in class
- Restrain yourself from surfing the internet and playing games
3. Participate in group discussions and stay connected
Online learning doesn’t mean that there should not be any form of communication with your classmates or your professor and teacher. In fact, you learn more by engaging in discussions with your peers even if it is online. By sitting through hundreds or even as little as 20 people during a live online lecture, you could also share ideas with your peers and start a conversation with each other.
When in doubt, ask questions. Don’t be shy! Asking questions is a great way to clear up confusions and allow yourself to understand a specific concept way better than before. Let’s be real, there are probably other students who have the same questions as you that they want to ask, but just didn't get a chance. Just keep in mind that you will be doing a big favor for you and your peers if you ask. There is nothing better than getting your questions answered right away.Your teachers and professors are trying their best to help you learn online and they want you to get the most out of your education.
4. Build a Study Plan
Motivation is the key to get you studying. Since online learning requires you to stay at home and learn, most students find it difficult to get themselves into their study mode in their home environment as exam week approaches. But that’s no excuse! By creating the right study plans and fitting them into your schedule, it could help you ace your exams and avoid last minute procrastination.
Creating a study plan is easy, but you definitely have to start planning it early. You can create your own study plan on a calendar by listing and spacing out the subjects you want to study each day and the study time for each subject before the exam date. Another way to accomplish this is to write a daily to-do list. A big plus from this method is that you get to check each item off from the list along with a feeling of accomplishment.
In short, regardless of preference, keeping a study plan is a great way to avoid last minute cram sessions and procrastination.
5. Taking Good Notes
Taking good notes during a lecture is important since you will need it when the time comes to help you study for tests and exams. By taking notes during a live video lecture, you should never write down everything that you hear from your professor or teacher simply because it is time consuming and it can get overwhelming.
Instead, to take good notes, always highlight the key points and concepts from the lecture and organize it in bullet form instead of in paragraphs or long sentences. By outlining it in bullet form, it makes studying for an exam easier.
6. Familiarize yourself with your online video platform
Finally, always explore the video conference platform you are using before the first lecture. Don’t ever let yourself be totally unprepared and become the next embarrassing story of the online live video learning list.
By familiarizing yourself with your required video platform, you will understand the different functions of the platform, such as how to turn the camera off and on, how to mute and unmute yourself on live, changing names, etc. When the time comes, you will be more than prepared to attend class, since you will have mastered everything.
Wrap Up: Practice Practice Practice!
Remember, practice makes perfect! Online learning might not be as easy as you think and you will definitely face challenges along the way. Therefore, try to practice a couple of the strategies listed above and you will be more than ready to succeed in your classes.