8 Tips: Advice for Effective Online Learning

Thursday, April 23, 2020

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, students at all levels of education—elementary school, middle school, high school, and college/university—have had to make the transition from traditional contact classes to online education and virtual classes. Here are 8 important tips for effective online learning that can help you succeed.

Is this your first time taking an online class through distance learning and virtual classroom methods? If so, know that you are not alone. The novel coronavirus outbreak has made it so that everyone these days has to engage in online learning and virtual classrooms. 

Let’s take a look at eight, go-to study tips for learning effectively online.

(1) Set daily study goals each morning.

Ask yourself at the start of each day: What do I hope to accomplish in my online course today? Set a clear goal so that you can stay motivated and beat procrastination. This goal should be specific and easy to measure. 

For example, you could say “I’ll watch all the Module 2 videos and complete the first online programming assignment” and use that as a reasonable goal. Don’t forget to reward yourself when you make progress towards your goal!

(2) Set aside your own space dedicated specifically to study.

It’s easier to recall information if you’re in the same place where you first learned it. Have a dedicated study space at home where you can take online courses! This can help make your online learning even more effective. Remove distractions from the space. Let your family know that this is your study space. That might mean coordinating with other members in your family, as it is likely that they are also working at home or working online.

If possible, make it separate from your bed or sofa! A clear distinction between a place of study and a place where you relax can help you focus. Besides, falling asleep is all too easy on the couch and sofa.

(3) Schedule time to study on your calendar.

Open up your schedule planner and choose a predictable, reliable time you can dedicate to watching lectures and taking care of your assignments. This can help you ensure that your classes and homework won’t become the last thing on your to-do list.

(4) Keep yourself accountable.

Tell your friends and family about the courses you’re taking. Include academic achievements on your social media accounts, including LinkedIn. Having a community and a support network of friends and family to cheer you on makes a difference.

(5) Actively take notes.

Taking active notes is helpful because it can : 
  • Promote active thinking
  • Boost comprehension
  • Extend your attention span 

(6) Join the online discussion.

Online class discussion forums are great places to ask questions about assignments, discuss topics, share online resources, and make friends with your online peers. Research shows that online learners who participate in virtual discussion forums are 37% more likely to complete a course. If those forums are available to you, make sure to make a post today!

(7) Work on one task at a time.

Multitasking is less productive than focusing on a single task at a time. Researchers from Stanford University found that those “who are regularly bombarded with several streams of electronic information cannot pay attention, recall information, or switch from one job to another as well as those who complete one task at a time.” Stay focused on one thing at a time so that you can absorb information and complete assignments with greater productivity and ease than if you were trying to do many things at once.

(8) Take regular breaks.

Make sure to rest your brain after learning because this is critical to high performance. If you find yourself working on a challenging problem without much progress for an hour, take a break. Walk outside while respecting social distance measures! Take a shower! Talk with a friend! All of these little breaks can re-energize you and give you new ideas on how to tackle that project.

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