7 Tips for Effective Online Learning
From saving you money to freeing up your schedule, online learning has many benefits. This makes it a great option for working professionals or anyone else who needs a more flexible way to study.
Just like any other learning method, though, you’ll need to put in some work to make sure you get the most out of the experience.
So, without further ado, here are our top seven tips for effective online learning:
- Manage your time.
- Prepare your workspace.
- Set manageable goals.
- Take breaks.
- Limit your distractions.
- Reach out to others.
- Engage your brain.
Read on to find out more.
1. Manage Your Time
One of the benefits of online learning is the freedom to study whenever you want. However, this means you need to be organized with your time and hold yourself accountable when it comes to studying.
Creating a weekly schedule will help you fit in your learning time around your other commitments. Dedicate a certain amount of time each week to your studies, adjusting your schedule as needed for work, family activities, and leisure time.
You can also plan further in advance for weeks when your schedule will be different, such as if you have a test, an important deadline, or time off from work.
2. Prepare Your Workspace
Different people learn best in different places. As an online learner, you’ll want to find out where your ideal workspace is, whether that’s in your room, at a library, or in your local café.
Try out the options available to you. Once you decide where you want to study, you can optimize that space to help you learn more effectively.
Having a dedicated learning space can help you:
- Stay focused and motivated.
- Establish a routine.
- Keep learning materials and tools organized.
Of course, this is most easily accomplished in your own private space, such as a home office, but you can still optimize public workspaces by reserving a table or computer in advance, using noise-canceling headphones, and bringing along any study materials you may need.
3. Set Manageable Goals
Online learning allows you to study and progress at your own pace.
To make sure you’re sticking to a pace that works for you, though, you should set your own personal learning goals.
Examples of learning goals include:
- Completing a module by the end of the day.
- Attending one online seminar each month.
- Getting a perfect score on a test.
When you’ve completed your goals, find ways to reward yourself for your achievements.
Make sure the goals you’re setting are SMART – specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound. Otherwise, you risk losing motivation and even suffering burnout.
4. Take Breaks
Whether you’re working or studying, breaks are an important part of your routine. Research shows that taking breaks:
- Increases your focus.
- Improves your problem-solving skills.
- Keeps you mentally and physically healthy.
- Protects you against stress.
Taking effective breaks is a skill in itself, so make sure you know how to make the most of your time off.
This will involve spending your time on something relaxing or productive, but not work related.
Online learning usually involves a lot of screen time, so you should also avoid your laptop, phone, or TV on your breaks to give your eyes a rest (and avoid the stress of social media).
5. Limit Your Distractions
It’s easy to get distracted when you’re learning online. After all, you’re usually studying by yourself, with access to the internet and other distractions.
That’s why it’s important to limit things that might distract you when learning remotely. You can achieve this by:
- Keeping your learning space clean and tidy.
- Turning off your phone or keeping it out of reach.
- Using website blockers to avoid social media and other sites.
- Letting family, friends, and roommates know when you need to be left alone.
Limiting distractions takes willpower (and sometimes an app or two), but it’s essential for effective online learning.
6. Reach Out to Others
No matter what subject you’re studying, online learning can feel isolating. But it’s rarely the case that you’re actually learning alone.
There are a number of ways you can reach out to other learners, including:
- Checking if your course has a student forum.
- Joining a social media group for online learners.
- Asking friends and family for help with your studying.
Connecting with other people will keep you from getting lonely and give you a support system to keep you focused on your studies.
7. Engage Your Brain
Many forms of online education make use of components such as images, videos, and interactive elements.
For example, our courses are filled with lesson-specific quizzes to regularly test your knowledge, and videos that explain technical processes in detail.
In addition to these built-in components, though, you can engage your brain by taking an active role in the learning process. This might include:
- Identifying your learning style. If you discover you’re an auditory learner, for example, you might want to focus on recorded audio or videos explaining your subject.
- Taking notes as you study. While course materials are usually available in text form, taking your own notes has been proven to improve your memory of the things you’re writing down.
- Explaining the subject to someone else. Talking to someone about what you’re studying can help you identify the areas you understand and highlight the parts you might need to go over again.
Doing these things will help you retain more information and stay focused and engaged with the content.
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