Improve Your Online Learning Skills
with These Simple Practices

See also: Learning Approaches

Online learning has gained ground lately, and that’s because of the ever-evolving technology. We live in a constantly changing world, and sometimes, to keep up with its rhythm, it’s necessary to change some of our habits. But that’s by no means a bad thing; on the contrary, if you know how to use technology to evolve (professionally and personally), there are great strides to be made and you may never return to traditional methods again.

The time when we were forced to physically attend in-person classes has passed. It was often challenging to participate in face-to-face courses because of a busy schedule, geographical location, medical conditions, or perhaps because you’re a parent who needs to balance parenting and education. Anyway, there are various reasons why people cannot attend traditional courses, and these are understandable.

Now, however, you can learn whatever, whenever, and wherever you like without being constantly concerned about how you could balance work and family commitments. There’s a learning curve to getting the most out of distance classes, though, as online learning requires a set of learning skills and strategies to ensure a smooth learning process.

So, online learning is not as easy as it seems, but there’s no need to be discouraged. This article offers some valuable tips that will help you to build solid online learning skills. Keep reading!

Male student studying online.

Develop a time-management strategy

Attending online classes while worrying about other activities in your personal or professional life is, without any doubt, overwhelming. That’s why it’s crucial to create a well-established schedule that will help you manage your time correctly. You don’t have to worry that you don’t have enough time for class assignments. If you have a half or full-time job, managing your time is even more important.

So, it would be helpful to start by examining your syllabus and making notes of the major assignments and the time you have to complete them. Another piece of advice would be to create a weekly schedule and stick to it; that means you have to allocate specific hours each week to study, no matter in what form – you can do research, work on your assignments, read, or watch lectures. To ensure you keep to this schedule, consider setting reminders for yourself and block out the time required.

Don’t forget to take breaks in the long run – it’s essential to unwind after work. After all, you are human – you can’t perform one hundred tasks a day (although it would be interesting). Maybe it’s not that impossible, but it’s undoubtedly exhausting. Remember that schedules aren’t meant just to make you stay focused on your duties but also to remind you that you need to step away and give yourself a well-deserved break.

Research your courses

One of the crucial aspects to consider when planning to enroll in online classes is to do your research. Maybe you think that it’s not necessary since you chose an online course to learn everything there. But almost all the time, specific background knowledge is required. You need to know what class you’re going to attend, what subject will be studied, what expectations the online teacher has from their students, what kinds of tools are required (if any), and so on.

Several factors have to be considered to make your learning journey as pleasant as possible. You don’t want to find yourself in a situation where you don’t have the necessary equipment (certain internet speed, software, webcam, etc.) to complete the tasks. It’s also possible not to be available for video interactions because of your work schedule. Some courses are more interactive than others, so make sure you do your research thoroughly before choosing the course type you want to follow. Depending on your day-to-day schedule and learning expectations, choose a course that best fits your needs.

Also ask questions and talk to students who have already taken the class to find out if it’s suitable for you – others’ experiences are, as in most cases, of great help when having to make your decision.

Treat online classes like traditional ones

The truth is that online learning has the great advantage of giving you the possibility to learn from the comfort of your home. Be careful, though – you shouldn’t get too comfortable. Our advice would be to treat your online course as a real one – dress like you would for a face-to-face class (you have no idea how much it enhances motivation), engage in discussions, be active, form connections with fellow students, etc. And don’t think about hiding behind the camera. Whether you attend an online chemistry class or get started in English literature, treat these courses like actual ones, otherwise all your work will be in vain.

Don’t procrastinate

This is one of the first rules when it comes to effective learning. No matter the study environment, it’s crucial not to delay your assignments or tasks; otherwise, you’ll find yourself with hundreds of duties at the end of the semester. In such a scenario, you don’t even know where to start, not to mention the solution. But if you follow the first step in this article, which is practicing time management, you shouldn’t have problems with procrastination. Another thing that can help in this regard is to set goals. This way, you know for what purpose you’re working, and the entire study process shouldn’t be such a burden.

Procrastination can be costly, and you should be well aware of that. Making a habit of delaying tasks can lead to poor performance in online classes. And this is pretty logical since postponing means not enough time spent studying. Online courses, in particular, require more independence, which is why many students choose to procrastinate – they believe no one will hold them accountable. Well, that is not true, and even if it was, you should hold yourself accountable. And you know what’s the best “excuse”? Your education. That should always be a good reason to put in the effort to accomplish any task.

Bottom line

Don’t forget to eliminate distractions, stay organized, and create a regular study space. Online learning is definitely a challenge, but why not embrace it? If taken correctly, it’s a powerful educational weapon.

About the Author

Cynthia Madison is an experienced blogger who loves writing about a wide variety of topics, from marketing and finance to travel and healthcare. When she's not in front of her computer working on her next article, she enjoys reading a good book or exploring new hiking trails and backpacking routes across the country.