Anytime you move from in-person learning to online learning, it can be challenging. No matter if you’re adjusting to it as an undergraduate taking an online course, having to learn online as a second grader because of the pandemic, or opting for online learning because of the flexibility it affords your life, we all want to do our best and be successful in online learning. However, learning from the comfort of your home has its own set of unique challenges, including the potential for increased distractions, lack of motivation, and procrastination. At Knowledge Bump, we want your overall online learning experience, whether it’s online tutoring with us or your regular courses being completely virtually, to go as smoothly as possible. So, let’s take a closer look at 5 tips to be successful in online learning and how to start implementing them today to reach your learning goals!
1. Delegate a Study Space
For starters, try to delegate a study space somewhere in your home so that when it’s time to sit down and go to work, there’s a specific area already set up and available. Sometimes you won’t have much choice on where to set up a desk or working space; however, if possible, try to choose a location based on you or your child’s learning preferences. For example, people who prefer silence might decide to set up a study space in their bedroom or a spare room, while those who enjoy some background noise may want a spot closer to the action.  If you are lucky enough to have several options, consider trying a few locations out to see which best fits you and your online learning journey. Lastly, if possible, the study space should only be used for learning, like attending online courses or completing homework, so you get used to the habit of learning online from this delegated space and can be successful.
2. Decorate to Educate
No matter your age or stage as a student, it’s nice to have a few things around your desk to help you focus or learn better. Therefore, thinking about how you can decorate the study area in an educational way is one strategy for creating a productive space and increasing positive learning outcomes. For example, suppose you are taking Grade 11 Chemistry through virtual methods due to the pandemic. In this case, you may decide to print out a copy of the Periodic Table of Elements so that you can easily refer to it and get more comfortable with using it. Visual stimuli can be very encouraging to students, so remember that educational décor is key; brightly coloured letters or numbers might be ideal for younger students, while maps, poems, or pictures can engage older kids.  Think about the topics or ideas that the learner finds interesting and integrate them into the study space to create the most successful learning environment possible.
3. Stay Organized
Something extremely important for online learners is to stay organized! Having the necessary supplies – pens, paper, calculator, etc. – easily accessible in the learning space is essential, so when something is needed, it’s right there. Furthermore, having your educational tools handy helps to mimic a traditional learning environment and means you don’t have to interrupt your flow of learning to grab something like an eraser or pencil sharpener. Another excellent tool for staying organized is a weekly or monthly planner to keep on top of your workload and deadlines. Or, if you have multiple learners using the same space, consider getting them their own study box. Essentially, these boxes will hold each learner’s individual educational tools and perhaps even their own educational décor to quickly switch out each time it’s their turn to learn. Ultimately, staying organized is one of the top tips for success at online learning and is something anybody learning from home should consider.
4. Establish a Schedule
Whether we like to admit it or not, we are creatures of habit. That’s why it’s critical to establish a schedule to succeed with online learning. Suppose you have a class Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 9 am, but your courses don’t start until 11 am on Tuesday and Thursday. To keep a consistent schedule that your body can become accustomed to, you might consider starting each school day at 9 am no matter what and just studying or doing homework within the few hours of those days you don’t have class. Not only are you adhering to a schedule, but you will get ahead in your studies which can lead to more successful online learning outcomes. However, we understand that situations may vary. For example, if you have multiple kids and limited learning space, you might need to stagger the use of the shared area and establish a schedule that way.  In the end, you may want to try out a few different routines before you establish a schedule that works best for you or your child to be successful at online learning.
5. Utilize Breaks Strategically
Although the bulk of what we’ve discussed so far has involved how to prepare your study space for online learning, once you’re in a certain rhythm, it’s important to remember to utilize breaks strategically. So, instead of grabbing your phone and scrolling through social media on your next quick break, consider taking some time to stretch, walk around, or grab a snack to help you stay focused and attentive.  Or, for younger kids, the break could be more like a recess where they run around in the back yard for a few minutes before coming back to re-engage in their studies. If you or your child struggle with taking time for breaks, try to structure it into the daily schedule, or you could even set a timer – getting up for a quick rest when it goes off. As much as you need to sit down and focus to be successful in virtual learning, you also need to utilize breaks strategically to get the most out of your online education.
6. Minimize Distractions
Now that you’ve optimally set up your space and taken a strategic break, it’s time to minimize distractions so you can maximize your productivity and focus. Start by identifying specific distractions you may encounter and implementing techniques to eliminate or minimize them.  For example, you might want to shift your study space away from a distraction-filled window or allocate a spot out of reach to put your phone.  On the other hand, if your study space is in an area prone to general noise, you may consider closing the door (if possible) or getting a pair of noise-cancelling headphones to help it stay quiet so you can focus. Basically, anything that is not pertinent to your online learning or has the potential to be a distraction or procrastination tool should be set aside when you’re at your study space. Minimizing distractions in this way allows your creative juices to flow more easily and aids in your overall success in online learning.
7. Know Where to Turn for Help
Although virtual schools and online teaching methods have been around for decades, they have become increasingly necessary over the past few years, thanks to the pandemic. Being forced to immediately shift from in-person teaching to online learning has left a discernible strain on the educational system, and let’s be honest, a strain on students as well. That’s why you need to know where to turn for help with your or your child’s online learning. At Knowledge Bump, we offer a wide range of services, such as test prep, essay help, editing services, and one-on-one online tutoring for students at various levels, including adult learning. Our goal is to help you improve in the areas you need a little extra help, whether that’s math, computer science, geography, or English literature. We believe everyone deserves to learn better, and our specially tailored sessions are designed to improve learning outcomes and engagement so you can be successful in online learning.
When it comes to creating the perfect study space, we often overthink it. But it doesn’t have to be this way. Try some different areas out – find what works for you! And once you know, then you can delegate a study space, adorn it with relevant educational tools or décor, implement strategies to stay organized, and establish a schedule that’s best for you. These are some of the most important qualities of a successful virtual learner, along with being conscientious towards taking breaks, minimizing distractions in your vicinity, and knowing where to turn for help with online learning. Ultimately, integrating these techniques to optimize your study space, overcome the unique challenges of at-home education, and improve your knowledge will be key in your journey to be successful in online learning.
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5,6. Chang, Shawn. “Optimizing your At-Home Study Area for Online Learning.” The
University of British Columbia, August 2020. https://students.ubc.ca/ubclife/optimizing-