Online learning provides an alternative way to meet academic goals, and many students have an opportunity to excel in this environment. However, the format of online courses is often very different and requires a lot of independent self-direction. For this reason, many online students and educators may want to learn tips for online learning success before starting this journey.
The following strategies are often part of the routine for online learning success:
Get and stay organized for online learning success
Both educators and online students must be highly organized to excel in an online education environment. Unlike traditional classrooms, you can’t borrow something from another student or share resources, so you must have all course materials with you for each session, including e-books, online tools, and course websites. Students may also want to spend time navigating these digital resources so that they aren’t fumbling with them during actual class time. Additionally, taking diligent notes and classifying them by date is a great way to keep all content and material organized, which makes studying easier.
Test your digital tools and capabilities
Many online schools use advanced digital platforms or learning management systems. But accessing these systems can be bandwidth-intensive. You will want to know if you need a more robust set-up before starting classes. Without adequate connectivity and processing power, you may lose connection during classes.
Consider time management
There is no denying that school, especially advanced schooling, such as community college or university level, can take a tremendous amount of time. Between classes, studying, and other preparation, it can leave little time for other tasks. Students that work or already have a career may have an especially challenging time properly allocating time in a way that leaves them with enough time to excel at their online classes.
Create a physical workspace
While traditional schools often have built-in places where students can go and study, online schools do not have the same benefit. But you must have a dedicated place to store all of your course resources where you can establish a studying and class time routine. One of the significant benefits of this arrangement is that since it is likely in your home, you can add any features that help you study, such as aromatherapy to awaken the brain or calming music that can help students focus.
If you can’t find space in your home, look for an alternative location with a physical setting conducive to learning, such as a coffee shop or the public library. Knowing where you study and learn is part of creating the routine you must follow to complete your online classes.
Leverage student resources
Similar to traditional schools, online schools often have student support systems and other resources to help online learners who need extra assistance learning the material. You can often access a tutor or attend office hours to help clear up any confusion about the course content. Additionally, you can request info about other student programs, such as assistance with financial aid or academic counseling. These resources are in place to help online students succeed and should be used by students who need help.
Know your limits and set realistic goals
While many students are eager to get through their schooling as quickly as possible (after all, they can focus on achieving other career and life goals), your chances of success can quickly disappear if you take on too much at once. This is especially true if you are working or have other obligations. As a basic rule of thumb, 15 units generally equates to about 45 hours of work per week.
Therefore, before enrolling in classes, you should sit down with your current schedule and determine how many courses are achievable. Enrolling in too many may result in dropping some of them mid-semester. It can also greatly increase your stress and anxiety levels, which could inhibit your ability to succeed. Even though taking only a few classes each quarter or semester may take longer, it is often a much more effective plan than enrolling in too many classes and being unable to complete them.
Set daily goals
Finishing school isn’t a spring; it’s a long-distance endurance race, accomplished by getting a little bit done at a time. However, generally speaking, you must work on your classes or homework most days of the week. By setting clear goals for each day, you can stay ahead of your work and avoid procrastinating, which leaves you scrambling to get caught up at the end of the term. It’s one of the best ways to succeed in an online learning environment.
Human brains need diversion and distraction at times. If you focus too long on one thing, you may have difficulty keeping your mind on task. Regular breaks to rest your brain often results in peak brain performance while you are required to focus. Doing small things like taking a walk, showering, or chatting with a loved one can re-energize your brain and help you regain the right mindset to learn and focus. These small breaks are especially important if you are trying to retain a lot of dense information.
Network with other students
If you have questions about the syllabus, material, or logistics of your online classes, you can be sure that others do too. And many learning management systems have built-in discussion forums that students can use to share information. These forums can be one of the best tools you have to get answers to your questions.
Like traditional learning, online learning can be a huge challenge. But these online learning tips can provide ideas for successfully navigating digital learning to achieve your short-and long-term educational goals!