Learning from the comfort of your home has plenty of advantages, including flexible study schedules and access to first-rate degree programs from all over the world. But with all the benefits comes some challenges that can slow down your academic success.
If you are considering virtual learning, the following success tips for online classes will come in handy.
1. Adopt an In-Person Study Approach
The flexibility of studying online can make you forget you’re taking classes. This is especially the case if the classes are taught asynchronously.
It’s easy to create a study schedule, but you must develop the discipline to follow through if you don’t want to fall behind in your studies. Assume it is an in-person class and treat it that way.
Remember that you are paying to take the course, even if it is an online course. Make up your mind not to skip classes or put off your work. “Show up” for class regularly, just as you would in an in-person setting.
2. Set Up a Dedicated Study Space
It doesn’t matter whether you choose your library or kitchen as your workspace; what’s important is to make sure you study in an environment that supports distance learning.
You probably won’t make much progress slouched on your couch streaming Netflix or chatting on social media while trying to complete your assignments. Avoid distractions, and make sure you always do your work in the same place. This will help you to establish a routine and stay more organized.
3. Form a Virtual Study Group
Taking an online course might feel like you are all alone, but that’s never the case. It connects you with a network of professors, instructors, and other students. One way to leverage this network is by forming or joining a virtual study group that will support your online learning.
You will have to be a bit creative about starting a virtual group, though. Ask on your course’s online forum if any classmates will be interested in studying together via video or audio conferencing. Besides sharing ideas and solving problems together, a virtual study group gives you the benefit of having someone to hold you accountable for your online education.
4. Actively Participate in Your Course’s Online Forums
Many online classes have discussion forums. You might not be able to easily form a virtual study group, but you can actively participate in the discussions on the online forum.
Post questions about projects you are working on, comment on classmates’ papers, ask for clarifications if you need to, and read what your professor and other students are saying. This is one of the most crucial success tips for online classes – the more you engage with others, the better your chances of success.
5. Don’t Hesitate to Ask for Help
With online classes, it is not easy to walk up to your professor and ask for help if you are falling behind on assignments or not grasping the study materials. However, don’t let this difficulty stop you from asking for help if and when you need it.
The longer you hesitate before getting help, the higher your chance of performing poorly because the delay causes you to fall behind even further.
Talk to your professor about your difficulty, look for free resources that can provide additional explanations, or get affordable online tools from subject experts to help you with assignments.
6. Break Your Work into Sections Using the “Chunking” Strategy
It can be tiring, off-putting, and even unhealthy to consistently stare at your computer screen for several hours at a time. A better approach would be to split a large task into smaller units (known as “chunking”).
Chunking is one of the most effective success tips for online classes, allowing you to focus on one small aspect of your work, get away for a few minutes, do something unrelated to your study, and then come back to complete the next chunk.
7. Take Notes
Taking notes is one of the most effective learning tips for online classes, and here’s why. Taking an online course offers the advantage of easily referring to information when it comes time for a test or exam. But this benefit can make you skip taking notes altogether.
Keep in mind that you’re not taking notes to create an archive of materials. Instead, the value of taking notes is to engage with the material. This helps you develop your own words for what you are learning. Taking notes improves your ability to comprehend and retain what you learn.
8. Monitor Deadlines
Reminders for upcoming due dates may not be something you get when you are taking online classes. For this reason, you need to be mindful of sneaky deadlines.
It is important to read through your course syllabus at the start of the class and take note of the deadlines for assignments. Put these dates on your calendar so you will not forget to turn in your work on time.
9. Avoid Getting Overwhelmed
It is easy to underestimate how much work needs to be done since you are not meeting quite often. If you let this happen, you might end up with an overwhelming amount of workload.
The best way to prevent this is to give the same amount of time to your online studies as if it is an in-person class. This way, you won’t get buried under a heavy workload.
10. Take Advantage of the Resources Provided
Academic success goes beyond class attendance and reading textbooks. Making the most of all the resources available to you is one of the best success tips for online classes.
Look out for virtual office hours offered by your professor, and make sure to bring your questions while attending them. If your instructor provides additional resources to help you master a material, don’t ignore them.
11. Figure Out How You Learn Best
Are you a visual learner, or do you prefer listening in? Think about how what learning method helps you grasp information better and find out ways to build your study strategies around that for your online class.
Lastly, find out when you accomplish your best work and follow it. Plan your study time during the morning, midday, or night depending on what time suits you best.