Trying new things is intimidating, and changing the way you’ve normally done things can be uncomfortable. You’ve probably experienced such a shift in your life during this global pandemic of Covid-19. The lives we knew before the outbreak have changed in several ways, from social interactions, everyday activities, travel, and even education. To maintain a safe space, society has altered the way we live with social distancing and hygienic practices like washing your hands and wearing a mask.
But one thing that has heavily affected society is education. Schools and Universities scrambled to find solutions for the pandemic as most local governments chose to close down educational facilities for public safety. Some cancelled the rest of the school year, and some switched to online learning. As we are all trying to navigate this new idea of distance learning, there are definitely some growing pains associated with it.
Schools organizing online courses for their students have to also worry about training their teachers for distance learning. Teachers have to worry about effective teaching strategies. Parents have to worry about their kids staying at home all day, and students have to find a way to stay focused while they are on the computer.
This seems like a complete disaster, something that would seem to be quite problematic. But because of highly educated and motivated teachers and professors, lots of schools have succeeded at adapting to distance learning. One thing that still can be problematic, is making distance learning effective for the student.
Here’s the top 10 tips for effectively studying online, and to make the most of our situation:
- Online courses are the same as regular courses
The idea that online courses aren’t “as serious” or “as important” should be avoided, as education in all forms should be appreciated as such. As teachers are trying to find new ways to teach, the students also share a responsibility to be good learners. They still count towards your goal of a diploma or certificate, so you should treat it as such.
- Participate in online courses
What does this exactly mean? Listening attentively – having a teacher repeat themselves more than twice can get quite boring, so make sure to catch what they say the first two times. Answer questions during the lessons – it would make the experience much smoother for yourself and others. Plus, you may actually get a very informative answer from your teacher or your peer. Being present during your lesson isn’t as effective as being a participant in the discussion.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help
This applies to both offline and online courses. Asking questions is a way to effectively digest the information and understand how things work. Teachers and professors are more than happy to answer the questions to the best of their knowledge. Even your classmates may have an answer that is easier for you to understand.
Being in a classroom, you can physically interact with other students and work together in groups. Distance learning limits this interaction, but it’s not completely eliminated. Networking with your fellow classmates will help you create an open line of communication for homework help and note taking. This ties in with asking for help, you can support your classmates as much as they can support you through positive collaboration.
- Have goals
Even when offline courses resume, having a goal for education is the smart thing to do. You can have small ones like get an A+ grade on your next essay, or pass the final exam. You can set long term goals – like completing this course and the next course. Goals are a great self-motivator and can help you during these online courses.
- Be Organized
Being at home, comfortable in your pajamas and having to attend classes in your bed seems all nice and good. But this can lead to being lazy and complacent and disorganized. Keep up with all the things going on in your life, especially your online courses. Having your notebooks ready, pens and pencils ready for notes, turning in your assignments on time, these little things can make all the difference. Knowing where things are and when you have things due will make a difference in how you handle your everyday life as a student.
- Lose the distractions
Being at home and away from the classroom, it’s easy to get away with doing something else instead of studying or listening to your teachers. If this was a regular course, you probably wouldn’t be on reddit all day, or playing animal crossing during a lecture. Put your phone on silent and away in a different room, and avoid opening other tabs not relevant to the class.
- Set up your own study space
Students usually gravitate to their typical seat or desk in the classroom because they feel comfortable there. This should be similar to that, set up a good study space where you feel comfortable and focused – maybe it’s in another room or in a quiet space. It will give you a bit more control in your life at this time where it seems everything is chaotic.
- Be patient
Distance learning will take some time to get adjusted to on both sides. So understand that your teacher is in the same situation as you and trying to make the most of this time online. Courses will be slower because not everyone will be equipped to learn effectively. Bear with it to create a great learning environment not only for yourself but for others.
- Use your resources
The internet is a powerful tool that allows us to do many things, even distance learning. We also have access to an infinite amount of resources for learning, so you should take advantage of this situation.
There are sites that help you study like Quizlet and Kahoot that you can download as Apps on your phone, you can share materials through Google Documents, and there are even online courses to supplement yours. Free books and slideshows are available at major universities, so make sure to check your school’s website or ask your teacher for some extra materials.
If you’re still struggling with your coursework there are places like Assignment Expert that can help you with your coursework and projects.