Online learning requires as much discipline as the classroom
Why ditching the pyjamas, fixing your posture and engaging in class discussions are all vital to making a success of online learning
We all know how to behave in a physical classroom. The echoes of long-forgotten teachers telling us to be quiet, pay attention, take notes… it resonates. But what if your classroom is now your bedroom? What can you do to make a success of online learning?
This is something that many of us will have to start taking seriously. Though the restrictions imposed by the pandemic that kept thousands of pupils away from schools, colleges and universities will soon be no more, digital learning is here to stay.
If you are one of the thousands of students embarking on an online learning programme this year, here are some tips to get the most out of it… and the good news is, they make use of skills you already have.
Behave as if you are in a real classroom
It can be tempting when learning at home to switch off your camera and slouch back on your bed while logging on to lectures or lessons, but this won’t put you in the best mindset for learning. Instead, conduct yourself as you would in the classroom. Get showered and presentable, sit at a table if you can, turn your camera on and your phone off, and treat it as a lesson, not a Netflix session. Avoid distractions for the entirety of the hour, including clicking away to more entertaining sites.
Engage with the lesson
Speaking up on Zoom or Teams can feel awkward, especially when there is a large group, but engagement is key to the learning process. Just as you would in a physical classroom, push yourself to join in discussions with classmates and ask questions. Don’t do the virtual equivalent of hiding at the back of the classroom. Getting dressed up and creating a dedicated workspace will go a long way to improving your confidence to engage with online learning.
Take notes, reflect and review
We are used to using our laptops and other screens to watch a huge variety of leisure content, from films to TikTok, so it can be hard to remember to really absorb what you are looking at when it comes to online learning. But this is not Youtube… you need to switch on and really take in what is on screen. Take notes throughout the lesson, and when it’s over don’t run off immediately. Instead, take some time to look back through your notes and really ask yourself if you understood what you just learned – are there any questions you now have that require further research or an email to your tutor? Could you convey what you just learned to someone else? Were you given any assignments, and, if so, what are they and when are they due?
Don’t fall down the virtual rabbit hole Finding the right motivation to succeed at online learning is fantastic, but remember not to push yourself too hard. Take regular breaks away from your screen, and ensure that you are maintaining a healthy sleeping pattern and getting out to see friends and family. When your home turns into your place of learning it can be all too easy for everything to blur together, so you must create boundaries. Again, use your real-world classroom skills here. Just as you would get up at the end of a lesson at school and walk to your next subject, chatting to friends or grabbing a snack, try to do the same at home. Break up the day with walks, proper breaks and plenty of time offline. A rested brain is one that is ready to learn.