Online learning has become essential to education in the past year, yet developing skills for success with e-learning doesn’t always come naturally. Some students may thrive on the independence and flexibility they gain from learning on their own schedule, but others might need to find ways to reproduce school structure at home. If you’re attending post-secondary school this fall, you may be wondering: “how can I stay motivated and study efficiently at home?”
The good news is that there are lots of best practices and tips to help you stay engaged and on top of your class work.
It’s not always easy to feel motivated to study at the best of times, so you should devise a plan for at-home learning, such as establishing a daily routine. This will help manage stress and create structure, similar to when learning in a classroom setting. Unlike a classroom setting, now is your chance to figure out what can help you learn the best. Not a morning person? Try creating evening study sessions for when you feel the most alert and ready for learning.
For more challenging work, building in a rewards system can help with your motivation. Rewards could be something simple, like a social media break or snack break, or a way to recharge your brain through watching your favourite TV show or taking a nap. It all depends on your goals and what best motivates you to follow through with your objectives.
One of the benefits of classroom learning is that you are in an environment that is built specifically for education. When at home, there are lots of distractions to keep you from focusing on class work. Eliminating these distractions, whether it’s social media, television or gaming, will help you focus on the tasks at hand. Part of avoiding these disruptions is creating the appropriate setting and workspace for studying.
Another important part of online learning is ensuring that you have your own workspace, separate from your everyday activities. This will help you mentally and physically focus on learning, allowing you to separate your study time from leisure time, ultimately helping to reduce stress. As mentioned above, it’s also important to eliminate unnecessary distractions.
If you’re studying for longer periods of time, make sure you have a setup that’s comfortable; you can review some of the tips from Ergonomic Trends to ensure your space is ergonomic. Even with the most optimal space, always remember to take breaks to stretch and move your body.
Because online learning has become a normal part of education in today’s world, there are lots of apps and software available to help you with your study habits. To avoid the temptation of online diversions, try software that helps block distracting websites, apps or games, such as ColdTurkey.
Another useful way to help track your studying is breaking down your workload. This helps create manageable study modules, the core tenet of the Pomodoro Technique, which breaks down work into 25-minute intervals using a timer. Examples of time management apps are Clockwork Tomato & Tomato Timer.
Though studying or learning from home with e-learning may feel less structured, it presents more options for your personal learning style. It’s important to stay updated on your coursework and remain engaged in online classes. Building and maintaining a relationship with your instructors is just as important with online courses as they are still an integral part of your learning experience. Remember: ask questions and hold yourself accountable.