10 Mar 7 study tips to help students get the most out of online learning
Online studying has so many benefits. At Shaw Academy, reviews from students past and present let us know what makes online studying so useful.
All of our courses are flexible, so you can choose your own timetable. You can pause the course at any point, ensuring it will fit into your life no matter your other responsibilities. We also offer the first four weeks of any module absolutely free so you can find out whether online studying is for you.
Let’s assume you already know you want to take the leap into online learning. Adding to your professional skills and experience is always a good idea for planning future work, and there is also the sociable aspect of meeting new people online – particularly useful for people isolating due to the pandemic.
It’s important to get the most out of online learning
So, there are loads of good reasons to study online, but what about the downsides? It is very different from attending college, school or university as there is no overarching structure provided for you. No-one will chase you if you don’t turn up to class, and the responsibility is on you.
However, this is easy enough to plan for. If you want to be successful whiles studying online, you must have your overall goal in mind. Set the boundaries necessary for you to complete the course and stick to it. Only you can set your objectives, and when you get used to doing so, you’ll find how liberating it is to study in an independent way.
Online learning demands you turn up to the webinars, either when they’re live or the recorded lecture. At Shaw Academy, we do encourage all students to attend the live lecture if they can, as there is the opportunity to ask questions and interact with the course educator. However, we also recognise that’s not always possible, and provide all webinars to watch at your convenience 24 hours after the live lesson.
7 tips and tricks for studying online effectively and efficiently
We’ve put together these online learning tips gathered from years of working with virtual students and reading their reviews. If you follow these then you have every chance of completing your online learning modules successfully.
- Research online learning expectations
It’s common for people to sign up to an online course on a whim, perhaps in response to an offer or recommendation. And there is nothing wrong with this approach. However, you have a higher chance of success if you take some time before the course starts to figure out some online learning techniques and understand what is expected of you.
We always recommend approaching your online studies in exactly the same way you would starting a new semester at college. Follow the same study habits you would undertake if you’re in a physical classroom with a lecturer.
- Know exactly what you personally want to achieve from the course
Consider the end result from the online course you’ve chosen. Have you selected this online learning module to lean a specific skill, obtain a qualification, improve your general knowledge of a subject, feel more comfortable with a subject you’ve previously struggled with, or to further your career path?
All of these goals require subtly different levels of concentration and complexity to achieve. This will impact your study schedule. If you begin your online course very clear about your expectations, you’re more likely to hit your goals.
- Adapt the course to your learning style
Many online courses can feel like they speed along. One of the most common Shaw Academy review comments from students and graduates is about the huge amount of information packed into each module.
This doesn’t need to be intimidating, however. You don’t need to go at the fastest possible pace, and can always review webinars again in your own time. Work at the speed that works best for you, and don’t feel you’re in competition with others.
- Ensure you match the online course’s tech requirements
When you study in a classroom, you can assume all the tools you need will be available and provided for you. Online studying means taking responsibility for the technical requirements of the course.
For most courses, a computer with decent WiFi is enough. But other courses need more sophisticated tech. If you’re starting out on a graphic design course, for example, you need to have all of the software necessary, along with the computing power to use it.
Don’t sign up to a course unless you know for sure you’re in a position to get hold of the hardware necessary.
- Make a dedicated study area at home
You don’t need a full classroom environment, but it is useful to dedicate a specific space to your online learning. It should be comfortable, ergonomically designed and have enough light so you don’t develop eye strain.
Home offices need a comfortable typing set-up, with an ergonomic chair to save your back. If you find you’re often uncomfortable then you need to adjust your learning space.
Also figure out when you work best, or when you can fit your online studies in with other responsibilities. If you find you learn best at night, then set this time aside. Or get up early to get the most out of your study time.
- Develop and create a formal study plan
Students who write out a study plan are more likely to reach their goals. There is no strict formula for this plan – it should just reflect what you want to achieve with clear steps towards doing so. Include all of your other obligations and responsibilities and you’ll be ready to get the most out of your course.
A study calendar works best to ensure that everything is in its place and that you’re giving your online learning the priority it needs.
- Study effectively by setting strict time limits
One of the best ways to ensure you get the maximum use out of your study time is to force yourself to work for a specific amount of time. Set a stopwatch or timer for a 20-minute period. Do not stop studying until the alarm goes off. You can then take a break for 15 minutes. Repeat this as many times as necessary.
Online studying can make your eyes feel fatigued because of its reliance on screens. It’s important to take regular breaks to rest your eyes. Moving around during these breaks is the best way to ensure your body doesn’t gather aches and pains along the way.