Online learning has been available for many years. In some form, it’s been available since around the 1980’s. That being said, It’s never been seen on the scale that it is now.
The global corona-virus pandemic forced schools, colleges, and universities to adapt and move their classes online.
When it was made impossible for classes to be held in person, hosting classes online became the only viable alternative. It also meant it had to be done incredibly quickly.
Many people have found that working from home, or the coffee shop, at their own schedule works really well for them. It does have its benefits. For example, it cuts down on travel time and cost.
It’s certainly not without its drawbacks, however. It can be a real struggle to stay motivated without face-to-face lessons and many are missing out on real relationships with classmates.
If you’re finding it difficult to adapt to online learning, here are some tips you can use for studying online successfully.
When you’re studying online, you often only have yourself to keep you motivated. It’s important to be your own cheerleader.
There may be opportunities for some group work but most of your time will be spent working in isolation. It’s therefore going to be down to you to make sure you stay on track.
Procrastination can creep in very easily – you’ll know it’s there when you’d rather clean the house than do your work!
Motivation has a lot to do with self-discipline and committing to see the process all the way through to the end.
It also has a lot to do with maintaining a positive mindset and confirming to yourself that you can, and want to, do this.
A lack of motivation can come as a result of feeling overwhelmed with work or being disappointed with yourself for not achieving as much as you’d hoped.
Try to go easy on yourself – you’ve probably done more than you think you have.
Remember your goals and use this as motivation to give you energy and determination to keep going.
Organise your time
You know yourself better than anyone else knows you.
Would you admit to sometimes avoiding the things you know you need to do? Most of us would.
Especially when we don’t want to do the things we need to do.
Having good time management is absolutely essential when it comes to online learning.
As you don’t have to attend classes in person at a certain time, there is a lack of structure to your day which can throw you off if you’re not strict with yourself.
People often find that creating their own schedule to allocate time for both class and homework gives you something to work towards.
It’s not an easy thing to follow as there is no one pushing you to do it. It takes a good level of discipline and work ethic.
Use your schedule to block out times for revision and completing assignments. It’s a good idea to do this well in advance of any upcoming exams to make sure you give yourself enough time to get through every topic.
One tip is to stick to a repeating weekly routine in order to form a habit. Cutting out free time can leave you feeling resentful and like you’re missing out.
Organising your day in a way that blocks out tree time means you always have some time to yourself to look forward to.
Create a designated study space
It can be really tempting to work from your bed or the couch. The problem with doing this however is that it’s not the workspace you need. Not to mention the inevitable aches and pains that will come with doing this.
Your work area needs to be somewhere that you associate with studying. What this looks like will depend on your circumstances and how you study best.
Perhaps you have an office space or a desk to use, or maybe you prefer to be in the local library or coffee shop.
Either way, your space should be somewhere that allows you to focus solely on your work. It should be free from distraction, organised, and comfortable.
Ask for help
If you get stuck while studying online, it’s easy to feel like you’re on your own.
There isn’t that immediate access to help that you get when you’re in the classroom and you can raise your hand to ask a question.
Another issue with online learning is that if you are stuck… no one will necessarily know unless you tell them.
Reach out to your instructor for help ! Don’t be afraid to start a conversation and that’s what they are there for. At the Digital Academy, you’ll be supported throughout your studies by a qualified instructor in digital marketing.
Create (and stick to) a routine
It is easy to not take online studying very seriously when you’re not having any face-to-face classes. This can also make it easy to fall into bad habits of waking up late or missing classes altogether.
Your learning routine is incredibly important when it comes to studying online successfully. Many would rather have, or are used to having, a routine set for them by an institution that includes a timetable of on-campus classes.
This is why it’s important to create, and stick to, a routine of your own that helps to keep you organised and on track with your work.
It can also help to keep your mental health in check. Simple things like a set wake-up and bedtime can make a massive difference to your mood.
The best way to approach online learning is the same way you would if it were in person. Start every day by getting up and dressed. Begin and finish your online study at a set time. Many find it helpful to treat it the same way you would working a 9-5. Holding yourself to these standards and keeping yourself accountable with manageable goals every day will help you stick to a routine. It’ll also help you to see the benefits of doing so.
Know when to switch off
When you’re studying online and planning your own schedule, it can be really difficult to know when to stop. It is, however, vital to give yourself enough time at the end of the day to wind down and relax. If you don’t, it won’t be long before you burn out.
You might also find that you really start to dislike the work that you’re doing if it takes over your life. Knowing when to call it a day is not an easy thing to master, especially when you’ve got a lot on.
A good way to do this is to treat it like you would if you were there in person as mentioned above. Set aside the hours in the day you need to for classes or homework and then the rest of the day is your own.
By using your designated study area throughout the day, your living area will then still feel like a well-needed escape.
At the end of the day, shut down your computer and the free time is yours to do whatever you want.
Stay focused on your goals
Why did you start this in the first place? There will be times you question what you’re doing and feel like throwing in the towel.
When these times come, you always need to come back to the reason you started in the first place. It will take some self-discipline to stay dedicated.
Giving yourself an end goal will help you to feel that all the sacrifices you are making are worthwhile and reminds you that this isn’t forever.
Every time you reach a milestone, no matter how insignificant it might feel, you should congratulate yourself with a reward.
That way, it’ll motivate you to keep going!
Be kind to yourself
We are all guilty of cramming for exams or studying for hours on end. As a result, we tend to neglect ourselves and forget to look after both our physical and mental health.
Being kind to yourself means making sure you schedule in time for some self-care. It also means being patient and gentle with yourself when things don’t go to plan. This isn’t an easy thing you’re doing, and you should be proud of yourself. What this looks like will depend on how you choose to relax and what makes you happy.
Some ideas might be:
- Give yourself a target of what you want to achieve in a day and then reward yourself when you achieve it
- Treat yourself to a nice coffee and a piece of cake if your study place is the coffee shop
- Take regular breaks to help keep your mind active and fresh
- Be sure to get enough sleep and keep yourself hydrated. Eat well and take regular exercise
- Meet up with friends even if this has to be online
Even post-pandemic, it’s likely that online studying is going to be here to stay. It’s an excellent option for students who otherwise wouldn’t be able to study at all. It offers an opportunity for institutions and colleges to have a wider reach than ever before, letting people get the qualifications they need to make their lives better.
If you’re keen to explore your options for studying online get in touch with us at the Digital Academy on firstname.lastname@example.org.