Academic Tips: How to Learn Online like a Pro

Thanks to COVID19, almost everything has gone virtual. Many schools have shifted their programs to either full online or partial online offering. Even though there were online schools, MOOCs, and YouTube before now, nobody was expecting this unprecedented switch and accelerated transition to online learning. But it was necessary.

As learners (or students), how do we navigate this new world of online learning?

Some of us are not new to this. We have been taking courses online but this is on a larger scale. And so we need help. Also, some are new to this form of learning. It is okay. Do not fret, y’all. Here are some tips to help you learn online like a pro.

Before you get started…

First, you need to know that online learning requires more dedication and intentionality than required for the traditional schooling approach. You are basically in control of how you’re learning. There is no pressure to attend classes. While this can be fun, it can also be super frustrating. It becomes overwhelming at some point. You will feel the world is starting right at you and you can’t handle it. Your self-resolve and dedication to make it work is what will keep you going.

Second. Know that you are not the only one. More than 6 million students like you are also learning online and they are facing similar challenges. So keep the good faith. Fight the glorious battle. You will win!

And now the tips…

1. Schedule, schedule, schedule.

Much more than ever, you need to manage your time effectively. You might be lucky and have set times for your online classes but for many others, that is not always the case. Whichever situation you find yourself, you need to work with a schedule. A schedule in this case lists all classes you need to complete, when you want to complete them, and when you ought to complete them. This document will serve as a map and helps you keep track of your workload. If you ever get overwhelmed, you can find your back by just referring to it.

2. Create a ‘school space’ to minimize distractions.

To help yourself get in the ‘mood’ and minimize distractions, it is best you carve a study space in your home. It should not be too comfortable though. A good study table and chair with proper lighting conditions will do the job just fine.

As a corollary, you will need to create a ‘school space’ on your phone too.

Yeah. You read that right.

It is quite easy to get distracted when you’re online. Notifications would never give you a breathing space. Distractions defeat the purpose of learning.

To create a school space on your phone on your mobile device, you will use the ‘Focus Mode’ feature on Android. The equivalent of this on the iPhone is the ‘Downtime’ feature. These features will help you shut out distracting notifications and keep the sanctity of your device for the sole purpose of learning when you’re in your ‘online school’. These are quick guidelines on how to use the features. For Android users, click here and iPhone users, click here.

3. Get organized.

For online learning, there are little things and there are the big things. Stable internet connection, enough battery power, among others are crucial to learning successful online. So before time, you have to set things in order to prevent glitches. Though there will be occasions of unforeseen glitches, staying organized keeps you on top of the pile rather weighed down by concerns.

4 Participate. Join conversation.

The importance of active participation in learning cannot be overemphasized. It reinforces what you already know and help identify the gaps in your knowledge. Take cue from those active listeners in your traditional class. In your online classes, make it a duty to be actively involved in whatever you been taught. Ask questions. Listen attentively. It will help you get a grasp on what you’re learning.

If your learning platform allows it, read through the comments section and make your own comments. Make comments such as ‘beautiful’ and ‘well-said’ on comments that strikes you as intelligent.

A note of caution, however, is that you do not make non-constructive critiques on other people’s opinions. If you can’t offer your comments in the most friendly and constructive way possible, it is better you keep them to yourself. Unnecessary online brawls do not result in any form of learning. It is just a super easy way to cause distractions. And you don’t want that.

5. Read ahead to stay ahead and in sync.

a young adult reading with a note beside him

This is an age-long advice for all students but you need it now more than ever. Reading ahead prepares you for the best experience in any lecture, especially online lectures. In online lectures, there are irreconcilable differences in your spatial positions so it is hard to get that feeling of being in sync with the lecturer. Reading ahead closes that gap. You already have something to relate with so even if there is no physical contact, there is a mental connection. And that’s all that counts😊

Also, it helps during interactive sessions. You will not be lost in flow. Remember, there will be no seatmate to explain what the speaker just said. You’re by yourself all the way.

6. Take notes

In any kind of lecture, recorded or live, TAKE NOTES. Little should be said about this. We already know what good and harm can be done as a result of this and online learning does not reduce the significance of taking notes while you learn.

In nutshell, learning online can be one of the best things that has ever happened to you if you can take advantage of it. Asides the freedom to do other things, you are in control of how you learn. No pressure. You’re the captain of the edu-ship, do not let it sink.

Remain committed and consistent.

It is going to be your best academic year ever!


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