10 Tips for Effective Online Learning
Thanks to the many advancements in modern technology, an online education has become more accessible than ever before, allowing learners to receive the same high-quality experience and outcomes offered by traditional education via a virtual experience.
The recent weeks have witnessed an increasing number of schools and universities around the world transition to online-only learning, as many campuses send learners home to help slow the spread of COVID-19. But the transition to online instruction doesn’t have to be intimidating.
To help ease this transition, we have outlined 10 tips to maximize your online learning experience.
1) Set a Schedule and Keep a Routine
In order to manage your time effectively, you should make a schedule and detail the tasks you need to accomplish and stick to it. Prepare for your online class sessions the same way you would prepare to attend in person — get dressed, make coffee or tea and sit down in a quiet space free of distractions. Outside of class, it’s important to set aside dedicated time for your studies. During your study time or project work, use the same mentality to try to eliminate distractions such as email, web browsing, social media and TV so that you can truly focus.
2) Take Frequent Breaks
Remember to take regular breaks while you are studying in order to maintain focus and avoid strain. Spending time away from the computer can revitalize your studies, helping you retain the information you’re learning. Consider taking a walk outside, reading a few chapters of a book, doing a series of quick exercises, or grabbing a coffee.
3) Ask for Help
If you need help during or outside of class, just ask for it! The benefit of a virtual classroom environment is that you still have access to your instructional team who is dedicated to your success. They’re there to assist and encourage you on your educational journey during class times, and often through office hours and via online chat software.
4) Create the Right Learning Environment
One of the best ways to learn at home efficiently is to have a productive space that eliminates distractions. If your study area is the family living room in front of the TV, you may find it challenging to focus. It might take some creativity, but try to make a space in your home that is used exclusively for attending virtual class and working on class projects or assignments. Using headphones during class times can also help you stay focused and tune out other noises that might be distracting.
5) Stay Accountable
Virtual classes can afford you the same benefit of accountability as an in-person environment, with instructional staff able to ensure that you’re engaging with the material and retaining the information. Live class sessions encourage regular attendance, keeping up with the lessons, and celebrating “aha! moments” together with your peers and instructional team. In addition, you’ll have a cohort of classmates you can team up with to also hold you accountable throughout your journey, regardless of how challenging it becomes. Outside of class, you can choose someone you trust and respect: a spouse, colleague, family member or friend as an accountability partner.
6) Take Advantage of Video Chat
Face-to-face interaction is important because it allows us to read social cues, explain things in clearer ways, and establish more meaningful connections. If your classes are held via video conferencing software, you’ll feel like you are in a true classroom environment by actually being able to see your instructional team and classmates in real-time. Seeing the people you talk to, even if you prefer not to be in front of a camera, will allow both you and your peers to feel more connected and encourage collaboration, regardless of the actual distance between you.
7) Collaborate With Your Peers
Attending classes online means finding new ways of working and communicating with your classmates. Remember that your peers are an invaluable resource throughout your educational journey. Try to engage with them in a variety of ways. Technology gives you the ability to stay connected, so you can join your peers online to create study groups, brainstorm ideas, and help each other stay focused, all while expanding your personal and professional network.
8) Acknowledge Your Accomplishments
You’ll discover that there’s plenty to celebrate about learning, whether in-person or online. Always take note of your progress and accomplishments, celebrating significant milestones at each step. These milestones may include completing a challenging project, meeting a deadline, or even making a new connection.
As important as it is to look forward during your journey, it’s equally crucial that you take time to look back. On their own, the incremental steps you’re taking may seem insignificant, but cumulatively, they add up to something larger. Before you know it, you’ll be further from the start of your journey than you are from the end. Take stock of the work you put in along the way to help push you closer to your ultimate goals.
10) Be Patient On Your Journey
Remember that learning, whether online or in-person, is a process. Each skill you master is one more step toward your ultimate goal. Naturally, some steps will be harder than others. At times, the hurdles involved may even seem insurmountable. But do not fear — so long as you keep your goal in mind and leverage the resources available to you, you will make progress.
When learning and attending classes online, it’s essential to have the support you need during your journey. A strong support team can provide unmatched value while helping you succeed. At Vanderbilt University Boot Camps, you are supported by dedicated instructional staff and career services and student success teams.
Please contact our admissions team at (615) 200-1138 to learn more about how this supportive and dynamic online experience can help you achieve your goals.
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- Transitioning to Virtual Class Sessions
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