TutorHelp.Club experts deal with different types of students day in and day out. And these students follow different approaches to studying online. Here, they are sharing some of the best tips based on real-life experiences to make learning online an awesome experience:
1. Create a schedule and stick to it
When you are learning online, you are responsible for your own learning – in terms of what you want to study, when you want to study, how you want to study, and where you want to study. This flexibility is a boon for students who are responsible and have excellent time management skills but also leaves many students may get disoriented and confused.
A study plan for an online learner should ideally have 4 components:
- Preparation time before you attend the class,
- Attend classes on the schedule,
- Make notes immediately after the class or before the end of the day, and
You also need to schedule time for eating, sleeping, grocery shopping, doing chores, and other activities.
You can use a variety of apps and tools such as Google Calendar or Trello to help you with this.
2. Check if you are technically equipped
This is a no-brainer but still, many students face technical difficulties when they start learning online. Before the classes begin, make sure you have a laptop or desktop with good internet connectivity.
A few things you can do to make sure you can attend the online study session smoothly are:
- If you are using a laptop, check the battery life and keep the charger handy.
- If you are using a desktop, ensure the monitor is at a comfortable height and angle.
- You can connect to a class using a smartphone but the screen size can be an issue. So, it’s advisable to join the classes using a laptop or desktop if possible.
- The best network for online learning is a wired connection with a minimum of 2 Mbps speed. If you are using a wireless connection, make sure there is no interference in the signal. A broadband connection is preferred as it ensures smooth video and audio quality.
- In case you are using a mobile hotspot, make sure you have good signal strength. You might also want to switch off your video to save data.
- It is also advisable to have a backup plan in case of power cuts or network issues.
- A good pair of headphones and a webcam will make it easier for you to participate actively in classes and discussions. Headphones with a built-in microphone will be a bonus as they will ensure clear audio quality.
- You should also have the required software installed on your computer. For example, if you are learning a programming language, you need to have the right compiler installed. Similarly, if you are taking an online course on graphic design, you need to have the relevant tools and software.
3. Follow the etiquette
Just because you are not physically present in the classroom does not mean you can ignore the basic rules of etiquette. Be on time for the class, be respectful to your fellow students and instructors, and dress appropriately.
Some other classroom etiquettes you need to follow online are:
- Since you will be attending the class from your home, make sure your background is decent. A simple blank wall or a bookshelf will do. Avoid using your bed as it will make you look unprofessional.
- Keep your camera on during the class (unless you have a network issue or your teacher asks you to switch off your camera) so that the instructors can see you and gauge your understanding of the concepts being taught.
- Mute your microphone when you are not speaking. When a teacher asks for students’ input, raise your hand virtually.
- Do not message other students using the chat box or through your phones while attending the class. Not only is it disruptive, but it also shows that you are not interested in the class.
- If you have any doubts or questions, wait for the teacher to provide an opportunity to ask them. In a live stream, instructors usually take questions at the end of the class. So, if you have any queries, make a note of them and ask during the Q&A session. You can type the question out in the chat box or unmute your microphone and ask.
4. Be an active participant
Engaged students always perform better academically whether they are learning online or offline. When you are an active participant in the class, you will be able to retain the concepts better.
In an online setting, there are several ways in which you can be an active participant:
- Make sure your camera is on during the class so that the instructors can see you. This also helps in establishing a connection with the instructor.
- Participate in discussions and group activities. If you are shy or introverted, typing out your thoughts in the chat box can be a good way to start.
- Take initiative and ask questions when you are unclear about something. Don’t wait for the instructor to ask if there are any doubts.
- Prepare for the class in advance by going through the required readings and assignments. This will help you actively participate in the discussion.
- Be respectful of other students’ opinions even if you don’t agree with them. Debate constructively and listen to what others have to say.
5. Network with your peers
One of the best things about learning online is that you get to meet students from all over the world. So, take advantage of this opportunity and network with your peers. It will not only enrich your experience but also help you in the future.
Here are some tips to network with your peers:
- Join discussion forums and participate in conversations.
- Connect with your peers on social media platforms.
- Look for opportunities to collaborate on projects.
- Attend webinars and online events related to your field of interest.
- Join online communities and groups related to your field of study.
6. Take care of yourself
It has been seen that many students who study online tend to neglect their health and well-being. This is because they do not have a set routine, and they can easily get caught up in the cycle of working and studying. But you need time to eat, sleep, exercise, and relax. Otherwise, you will quickly burn out, and your performance will suffer.
So, make sure to take care of yourself by:
- Eating healthy meals at regular intervals. The best foods for brain health include fish, nuts, seeds, fruits, and vegetables. Drink plenty of water and avoid foods that make you drowsy, such as sugary snacks. Junk food might seem like an easy option but it makes you sluggish. Caffeine can help you stay awake, but don’t overdo it as it can lead to anxiety and other health problems.
Other wake-up foods you can try are whole-grain toast with almond butter or a banana with yogurt.
- Sleeping for at least 7-8 hours every night. Actually, it depends on the individual. Some people can thrive on just 4 hours of sleep, while others need 9 hours. So, listen to your body and get the required amount of sleep.
One way to determine the adequate amount of sleep for you is to wake up naturally without an alarm. This means that you are well-rested, and your body doesn’t need more sleep.
- Exercising for at least 30 minutes every day. It doesn’t have to be a strenuous workout. A brisk walk, some yoga, or a light jog will do the trick. Exercise not only helps you stay fit but also boosts your energy and mood.
- Spending time with friends and family. It is essential to have a good support system, especially when you are feeling stressed. So, reach out to your friends and family members when you need someone to talk to. If you do not have a network, you can start by talking to your peers or joining an online support group.
7. Manage your time wisely
When you are studying online, you need to be very organized and manage your time wisely. This is because you will not have set class timings, and it will be easy to procrastinate. But if you want to be successful, you need to be disciplined and manage your time well.
Here are some tips to help you:
- Create a daily schedule and stick to it. As discussed above, knowing what to do at what time saves a lot of time in making decisions. A daily routine that already has a time slot for every activity helps in this case.
- Start working on assignments as soon as they are given. This will help you avoid last-minute rushes and handle any unforeseen delays calmly. For bigger assignments like dissertation writing or research papers, break the task into smaller parts and work on one part at a time. Set deadlines for yourself and try to finish the work ahead of time.
Keep track of deadlines and make sure you submit your assignments on time. Set reminders in your calendar or to-do list app so that you don’t forget.
- Use the Pomodoro technique to break down your work into smaller chunks. In this technique, you work for 25 minutes and then take a 5-minute break. After 4 such sessions, you take a longer break of 15-20 minutes. This helps in increasing your focus and productivity. Some students prefer longer study sessions. If you are one of them, you can take a 10-minute break after 50 minutes of study.
- Eliminate distractions and create a conducive environment for studying. This means you should study in a quiet place without any distractions like TV, music, or social media. If you need background noise to focus, try white noise or nature sounds.
You can use apps to lock social media sites for a certain period so that you are not tempted to check them.
If you do not have a quiet room to study in, you can try using noise-canceling headphones. And if you find you study better when other people are around, you can attend your classes from a nearby library or a café.
- Set aside some time for leisure activities. If you spend hours on end working or studying at a desk, you must schedule some time for fun activities like playing with your pet, going for a walk, or meeting friends. This is important to maintain a work-life balance.
If you are feeling unmotivated or discouraged, take a break and do something that makes you happy. This will help refresh your mind and give you the energy to continue working.
8. Find a study buddy
If you find it difficult to stay motivated while studying online, then finding a study buddy can be a great way to keep yourself on track. A study buddy can be someone who is also taking the same course as you or someone who is studying the same subject.
Working with a study buddy has several advantages:
- You will be accountable to someone else and will be less likely to procrastinate. Sharing your goals with someone and how you are going to achieve them will make you more likely to stick to your plan. A study buddy who knows your goals can jolt you back on track when you feel like giving up and remind you why you started in the first place.
- You can collaborate on projects, discuss difficult concepts, and exchange resources. This will help you learn better and retain information for a longer period. Teaching each other or working on a group project with your friend will help you learn the material more deeply.
- You can celebrate your successes and commiserate your failures with your study buddy. If you are of legal age, you can even go out for a drink or two to celebrate your successes and forget about your failures. Having someone to share your highs and lows with will make the journey more enjoyable.
Learning online can be a great experience if you follow these tips. With the right attitude and approach, you can make the most of your online learning journey!