Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Skype and other online communications media have allowed billions of people around the world to share ideas in a matter of seconds, mostly at a very low cost. These advances in computer technology are as remarkable as they are familiar.
But most people are not aware of how computers and Internet technology are transforming the way students learn. This emerging education paradigm is often called “virtual learning” and it has the potential to improve student achievement, educational access and schools’ cost-effectiveness.
This is completely different than the classroom method of learning. Online courses can give you not only the opportunity to efficiently balance classes as well as time but also more freedom to engage in other activities outside of class like work, sports, etc. Because online classes are different, learning styles and goals may also be different as well. If you are considering online classes or are currently taking online classes and are looking for some advice on how to optimize your learning experience, these four tips will help!
1. Find your motivation, then use it!
Online classes, however, are different from regular classroom ones because they are 100 percent virtual and are attended at home. Because of this, you are way more vulnerable to distractions that can make it hard to be motivated to sit down at your desk for an hour or so and dedicate time to your online class. A great way to fuel your motivation is to write out a schedule of tasks to do each day for your online courses; include a time period and the length of time it will take you to accomplish your task, as this will help you to hold yourself accountable and stay on top of your to-do list!
2. Cut distractions
Speaking of distractions, when you are engaging in your online class, try to take preemptive measures to reduce distractions. Social media, texting, music, and television are all huge distractions that can affect your participation in online classes. One of the biggest tips I can offer is to take breaks when you feel that you deserve one, perhaps to get a snack or something, and set a timer. During your break you can have the freedom to be consumed by all of your distractions; however, once that timer ends, get back to work! Doing so again helps build self-discipline and pushes you to get your work done faster.
3. Evaluate the routine of your teacher/course
Not all teachers run their courses the same way, and when it comes to online courses, you will find that some teachers hold virtual meetings while others encourage discussion board participation. Because of the nature of online courses, teachers and professors have to be mainly available through email or some other form of contact, which allows for you to get in touch with them at any time to voice any questions or concerns you have about your learning pace or your progress in the course.
4. Be engaged
A great learning goal for online courses, though simple, is to be engaged. Review your course documents regularly, engage with students on a steady basis (not at the last minute every time), and participate not just when you need to, but when something sticks out to you in the material! Not only will this show your professor that you are interested and invested in the course, but it will also enhance your own learning experience!