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Learning Online: Tips & Tricks

Learning online is definitely a different style of learning and we’ve all been thrown into in rather suddenly. I’ve been doing my grad school courses online since self-isolation began, so I figured I would let you know what’s been helping, what’s not and how to thrive in this online learning environment.

Keep it Physical

One thing that has been helping me out majorly is using a physical notebook and agenda during this time. Firstly it helps to take screen breaks and let’s my eyes rest a but but it also helps to have something tangible when working digitally. Whether it’s writing notes, doodling or brainstorming; I find that using pen and paper increases my focus while I’m listening to lectures or reading online.

Take Breaks

This is so important! In school usually there’s a few minutes before and after class where everyone is chatty and no one hesitates to leave for a minute to get a drink of water or go to the bathroom - so why should online school be any different? I think it’s important to hit the pause button every hour or so and just get up and move: make a tea, pet your cat or talk to a friend on the phone. Taking little breaks helps to keep your brain and body active and able to focus. Just be disciplined and make sure a 5 minute break doesn’t slowly become 15, then 30, then the whole day!

Create Community

I love working independently, but working in teams is a great skill to have and socializing is part of being human! If you can, participate or create a work group on an online platform where students in the same course or level as you can communicate. Having a shared experience (the class you're all taking) and talking about projects, ideas and maybe even just everyday stuff helps to foster friendships but also a sense that although everything is online - we’re not alone!

Give Yourself a Schedule

Although it might be tempting to leave recorded lectures to the last minute or do readings minutes before class, I don’t recommend it! Try to give yourself structure by scheduling when you’ll be listening to lectures, working on assignments and doing readings. If your lecture is live-streamed - then half the scheduling is done for you! Just create time slots throughout your week where you know you can work on the material outside of class time. By giving yourself structure, those times will become more productive since you’ve committed yourself to a specific task.

How are you coping with learning online? Do you like it better - or worse? I think there are some major benefits (no commute, yay!) however I think learning in-person is a little easier in terms of focus and productivity!

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