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Whether it’s due to the closure of schools because of the coronavirus or simply to meet personal education goals in a way that is flexible, more and more people are pursuing education online. From elementary school students to adults pursuing higher education, the demographics vary. Regardless of age or background, common issues exist for all online learners. Remote education is a markedly different experience than brick and mortar schooling. There are steps you can take to improve online learning for you or your family.
Create a Dedicated Space for Learning
One of the best ways to get into the mindset to learn is to have a place that is meant specifically for educational pursuits. It should be quiet, and you should have everything you need for school within reach. If you don’t have a separate office, that’s okay. You can make do with a spot at the dining room table if need be. Just be sure you have a place to plug in your computer and that there is a place to keep your school supplies at hand. Once you establish your educational nook, your brain will start to recognize that it’s time to get down to business and focus on school when you sit down there.
Take Advantage of Technology
Online learning is the perfect environment to enlist technology aides to help with your learning. The education management software your school utilizes might have some helpful resources built in such as chat features for communicating with the instructor and other classmates. It also might help to turn off the camera if seeing yourself is a distraction. If you’re finding long reading assignments to be a difficult task, perhaps speech-to-text software could help to overcome the reading comprehension barrier. You can slow down the playback speed of videos on platforms like YouTube if you are having trouble following along. Closed caption settings are also quite useful. Feel free to use any tools or assistive features that help make distance learning more manageable.
Learning at home can be even more difficult due to the number of distractions most people have to contend with in this environment. Other members of the family are often home. They may be taking care of household chores, watching TV or engaging in their own online meetings. These activities are a real distraction when you’re trying to concentrate on the task in front of you. As noted earlier, finding a quiet place to do your school work is usually the best strategy. Find ways to limit distractions if you’re unable to set up a dedicated work space away from other household members. Perhaps schedules can be coordinated in a way that keeps everyone separate during learning hours. If online temptations like social media are your downfall, you can find apps to block them during designated time periods.
Stick to a Schedule
Another way to make online learning easier is to stick to a schedule. This can be easier when schools offer lessons in a synchronous, or real time, format. For these types of classes, you or your family member must show up at a designated time and remain for the remainder of class. Even if your school doesn’t require a set schedule, it’s good to create one of your own. This makes it less tempting to put work aside until the last minute, leaving you scrambling to finish assignments. It also allows plenty of time to ensure you understand the material so that you can get help along the way if you need it. As with having your own learning space, adhering to a schedule also teaches your brain to be in work mode when necessary so that your learning will be more efficient.
Keep an Assignment Book
Keeping track of online assignments can be difficult when you don’t have to face your teacher in-person each day. That’s why it’s so important to keep an assignment book or agenda to write your tasks down in. Color code assignments if this helps. Break assignments down into steps and use reminders to stay on track. These things can be done on an electronic device if you prefer this method.
Hopefully, these tips will help you or a family member to improve the online learning experience. Adding structure to your day in whatever ways work for you should make a big difference.