The coronavirus is forcing many students to go online and study. But studying online could be more beneficial than you might think. In fact, many people choose to study online because of the flexibility it offers, especially if they have family commitments or irregular work. But to get the best out of your online study, you need some clear strategies. How do you stay disciplined? What if you can’t find a quiet space? In this article we will examine 9 tips for studying online.
Here are our top 9 tips for studying online productively:
- Create a study space
If you live alone it’s a lot easier to create a study space in any area of your home. But it’s still worth finding a type of separation so you can get into the zone.
Look for a study space that is quiet, comfortable and free from distractions. If you can, personalise your space with objects or pictures that inspire you. Splurge in a good desk chair; it’s hard to concentrate if your back is bothering you, or you’re not comfortable.
That might be in your spare room, bedroom, a local library or a co-working space. The trick is to make it your regular study space.
If you live with family, having a dedicated study space is more difficult. Discuss with your family and commit to an area in which you can study without interruptions. You might event need a “do not disturb” sign so people know to leave you alone.
- Choose your study time, and stick to it
If you work full-time, you might not have much choice about when you study. But you should still consider carefully whether you work better early in the morning or at night.
Then, put it in your planner as a designated study slot.
- Take a break
Make time to get up and walk away from your computer at regular intervals. How often should you take a break? Research shows that the most productive workers engage in tasks for around 50 minutes, then take a 15-to-20-minute break. This is long enough for your brain to disengage so you feel refreshed, without losing focus and momentum.
But ideally, listen to your body and take a break when you start feeling like you’re struggling to focus or are easily distracted.
- Do a little bit every day
It’s hard to know how often you should study, but the key is making it part of your everyday routine. By studying a little bit every day, you are continually reviewing things, which helps you understand and retain more.
- Set goals and rewards
Staying motivated can be hard when studying online. The trick is to set yourself goals. Write a to-do list for each study session and week, so you have something clear to work towards. You can even reward yourself when you achieve certain milestones in your course.
Always keep the big picture in mind. What’s your “why”? How will studying help you career?
- Adapt to your learning style
There are three main ways of learning:
- Visual: You absorb and retain information better when it’s presented in a visual format, such as pictures, diagrams and charts.
- Auditory: You prefer listening to what is being presented., such as repeating something back to the tutor or recording lessons.
- Kinesthetic: You prefer a physical experience, such as a “hands-on” approach, demonstrations and practical workshops.
The key is to adapt your study approach to suit your learning style.
For example, if you’re an auditory learner, try recording key points and playing them back to yourself. Or if you’re a visual learner, draw diagrams and mind maps to represent the key points.
- Get the tools you need
A standing desk, headphones, a new computer – there are lots of study tools you can invest.
The key is to work out what you really need to study productively.
We recommend noise-cancelling headphones and a decent Wi-Fi connection as a priority. Everything else is a bonus.
- Ask for help
Just because you’re studying online doesn’t mean you’re alone. Our tutors are available throughout the course to help with any queries.
Also, talk to your family and friends before you start studying online. Let them know how you will need support, then work together to put a plan in place for tasks like school pick-ups, shopping, housework and so on.
- Choose the right provider
The training provider you choose can make or break your study experience. Here at Transformed, our virtual workplace and learning practices are designed for flexible study.
We understand that in a busy, time-constrained environments, having time away from work to complete assessments can be tough. So, we’ve carefully designed and structured our programs to take into account best practices in learning design, adult learning principles and the latest approaches, such as the 70:20:10 framework.
Thinking of studying with us? Find out how Recognition of Prior Learning could give you a head start.