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7 Tips for Studying at Home with an Online Course

Congratulations on enrolling in that online course you’ve been planning to pursue. While studying from home is a great way to continue your education under the current circumstances, many students find that they are not ready for it, and as a result, often don’t reap the full benefits of taking a course online.

Studying online requires a certain level of commitment as it’s not the same as sitting through a traditional teacher-led class. Here are 7 tips you can incorporate now to make studying from home more effective.

Make Studying from Home more effective – 7 Tips to Follow

1. Expectations and best practices around online learning

From the outset, an important thing you should understand as a student is that online learning may not necessarily be an easier way to learn, but rather a more convenient and time-savvy one.

After all, in order to reap the benefits of an online course, you need to set time aside to take the course, stay focused while studying, and commit yourself fully to the learning process – just like you would with a traditional course. Therefore, when taking an online course, remember that:

  • You must commit yourself wholly and take part in virtual classroom discussions as and when required.
  • Be tech-savvy and have the right equipment in place beforehand.
  • Learn to work effectively with others in the virtual space.
  • Ensure that all your assignments and learning tasks are completed on time

You need to be willing to do all of the above at the very least.

2. Reliable internet access

We mentioned being “tech savvy” in the previous tip. This cannot be understated!

Technology woes happen all the time and in the middle of a virtual classroom session, you certainly don’t want your internet connection to go south. Or worse yet, you’re about to complete the perfect assignment and your computer crashes.

Mishaps do occur but that doesn’t mean they can’t be avoided. Get in the habit of hitting “Control + S” frequently to save your work, and use cloud storage backups regularly like Google Documents or Dropbox – in case you want to access your saved work from a mobile device or continue working if your computer misbehaves.

Creating backups is important – however, having a reliable internet service provider is even more important. Do some research, read some reviews and always have backup power at your home!

3. Identify learning objectives and goals

A great way to stay on track with your online learning is to write down (preferably) what you hope to achieve at the end of the course.

Always read through the online course’s requirements, then create notes which are closely related to the underlying objectives you want to achieve as a result of completing the course.

Review these objectives every time you work on an assignment. This will not only improve the effectiveness of your study session but also improve your overall performance.

4. An online course is a “real” course

Even if your class is online or virtual, you ought to have the discipline to admit to yourself that “I’m going to work on this just as hard as a real course” – and, of course, the dedication to follow through, just like a real course where there are eyes on you and the pressure to perform is ever present.

Naturally, a certain degree of flexibility can be had when it comes to completing your assignments, but putting it off can spell disaster.

One of the best ways to ensure that you follow through properly is to constantly remind yourself that you have paid to take an online course, just like you have paid in the past to take an in-person class. You need to “show up” and complete the required work on time in order to reap the most value out of each class.

Therefore, treat your virtual sessions the same way as you would treat a traditional class or an on-premises job.

5. Stay better organised by creating a study space

It’s important to set up a dedicated space just for studying and working on assignments. When you get used to a particular place in your home for studying and working on course projects, you’re going to establish a fixed routine which will certainly help your productivity.

This could be your kitchen table or living room, the local library or even that corner shop where you love having the coffee. It’s up to you to determine what kind of study environment works best for you.

Some learners prefer a quiet space in their home while others find themselves to be more productive in the hustle and bustle of a café.

However, no matter where you are, always ensure that there’s high-speed internet access available around the clock.

6. You can do without those distractions (seriously)

Dishes piling up in the kitchen sink, somebody texting you asking you to pop on social media or your Netflix series about to finish downloading – these and many other distractions can easily detail your study plans.

You can do without them! The dishes can wait, your friends online can wait, and you’ll have plenty of time to satisfy your Netflix quota over the weekend. Do whatever helps to minimise distractions – switch your cell phone off, don’t check your online notifications, don’t worry about what’s going on around the house, etc.

Ultimately, you must come up with a strategy that works for you and resist the temptation to do stuff you love doing when you’re not studying. If you need a break, just walk around the house, go to the balcony and take a whiff of fresh air – anything that rejuvenates you and doesn’t distract you.

7. Regular breaks

Probably the most important item on this list when it comes to studying from home!

Come up with a study schedule each day – designating specific hours of the day for course work and specific times for breaks. Taking regular breaks is crucial as it’s one of the best ways to avoid getting burned out and keep your productive train moving.