Tips for Effective Online Learning

Tips for Effective Online Learning

As COVID-19 continues to be a global health concern, more people than ever find themselves working and studying from home. While some schools have resumed face-to-face instruction in the fall, many courses at institutions across the country are being offered online. This new normal may take some getting used to, but StraighterLine can help you make the most out of these circumstances.

Following the effective online learning tips below can help you be successful in your online courses, but remember that it’s normal to feel like you’re not as productive as you once were. Be gentle with yourself, and give yourself time to adjust to what might be a new way of learning for you!

Set Goals

To set yourself up for academic success, you should set concrete, daily goals. The more specific your goals are, the better--when you know exactly what you need to accomplish, it’s easier to meet your own expectations. (Just make sure to set goals that are achievable!) At the beginning of each week, decide what you want to accomplish each day for each online course you’re taking. For example, you might choose how many chapters you want to study, how many pages you will read, or which assignments you’ll work on or complete. Finally, don’t forget to reward yourself when you meet a daily goal. You deserve it!

Designate a Study Space

Working and learning from home can be difficult with all the distractions of regular home life going on around you. Before you begin working on your online coursework, do your best to remove any distractions. If it’s possible, separate your study space from your relaxation space. That way you’ll train your brain to associate a particular area with a specific behavior, and you’ll be able to focus more easily.

Fill Your Calendar

Setting goals can be easy, but finding time to work towards them can be much harder. Consider using a calendar or planner to help you designate specific times that you’ll work on each of your goals. At the same time, be sure to schedule yourself some free time, too, so that you’ll have something to look forward to. Balancing work and relaxation will help keep you on track and prevent you from feeling overwhelmed.

Hold Yourself Accountable

When you’re nervous about taking on something new or difficult, it can be tempting to keep your plans to yourself. However, it’s important to let family and friends know your aspirations! Talk to people close to you about the classes you’re taking, the tests you’ve got coming up, and the times you’ve set aside for studying. Letting others in on your goals and schedule will not only help you stay accountable, but will also allow them to help you by encouraging you to stick to your plan.

Avoid Multitasking

While we all need to multitask sometimes, try to avoid multitasking when it comes to completing your online school work. When you have too many things on your plate at one time, you’ll have a harder time paying attention and retaining information. If you give yourself the permission to focus on only one task at a time, you’ll complete your to-do list more easily and with better results.

As you adjust to learning effectively online, test out which tips work for you. Everyone is different, and what works well for one person may not be the key to success for another. After trying something out a few times, remember to check in with yourself and think about whether a particular strategy is helping you succeed. Finally, take your time--new schedules and routines can take a while to get used to! What’s most important is that you’re doing your best.

Anissa Sorokin, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor of English and Writing Program Administrator at Stevenson University near Baltimore, Maryland. Anissa’s interdisciplinary background and extensive experience teaching research, writing, and study skills help her demystify college expectations for students online and in her classroom.

Looking for more study tips for online learning? Check out this great article: How to Prepare for and Excel on Online Tests

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