Distance learning is a reality many students have to face now that school has started in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic. As schools, universities, and colleges shift to online learning to keep students and faculty safe, there have to be adjustments and guidelines in place to help students the most out of learning in a virtual classroom. Here are some of the best tips and tricks for students who are having to study at home and online.

1. Get ready for the day.

It can be tempting to spend the whole school day in your pyjamas or lying on the couch. To ensure you stay productive and focused throughout the day, treat it like you would a regular school day. Wake up early, get dressed in clothes that aren’t loungewear or PJ’s, and eat meals on time. It’s important to have your routine in place so that you can easily dedicate time and energy to your schooling. Following your usual school day routine or schedule is a good way to structure your days and help you feel less overwhelmed.

2. Set up a separate study space.

A good tip for staying focused while remote learning is to dedicate a space in your room or home that’s purely for studying or working. This can help you get in the zone and away from any distractions. You don’t need to have a whole home office or study room to have a separate space that works for you. If you’re studying in your bedroom, you can set up a work area that is away from your bed. Your dining room can also be a space where you can focus on work if it’s quiet and has seating that is comfortable but not too relaxed that you end up falling asleep. Just ensure that your workspace is not on your bed or couch.

3. Stay updated with notifications, calendars, and alarms.

Remote learning means you will use various platforms such as email, messaging apps, or e-learning portals to communicate with your classmates and professors. It’s important to check these platforms regularly so that you don’t miss out on any important news or information. Students who are now learning remotely must have their notifications on or set alarms for reminders and calendar events to ensure that nothing slips between the cracks. By checking announcements and updates daily, you have fewer chances of becoming overwhelmed by all the tasks you have to do. You’ll also dodge horror stories like missing out on quizzes or assignments just because you forgot to check your school’s platform.

4. Keep unnecessary distractions out.

You will inevitably be on your laptop or tablet while learning online. For some students, it’s already a big distraction to be using these mediums. Make sure you get rid of the unnecessary distractions by keeping your phone off or on “Do Not Disturb” and in a place that’s out-of-reach while you are studying. If you’re using a tablet, get rid of any games or social media apps that can take you out of the study mood. You might find that you focus better if you read things on paper, so try printing out your readings if this is available to you or writing down notes in a notebook. Try to create an environment that’s as close to your regular classroom as much as possible.

5. Reach out and ask questions.

Being in a virtual classroom means that you can’t always rely on another classmate asking the same questions you have. It can also be difficult to ask questions or for clarifications during group calls or online lectures. This means that as a remote student, you will have to find other ways of reaching out to your professor and getting the help that you need. Don’t be afraid to message or email your teachers (within reasonable hours) with your questions. Professors and educators are well aware many students won’t understand the material right away, especially in an online setting. Getting used to asking questions can prevent you from falling behind in class or wasting too much time on a topic. 

6. Find a learning style that works best for you.

Some students are visual learners, others prefer to absorb information through audio alone. You might prefer to power through courses and do as much as you can in one day while others prefer to pace themselves and chip away at tasks little by little. Finding the style that works for you is essential to make remote learning effective and worthwhile. Always go back to keeping your regular school day routine and apply the same techniques while studying virtually.

7. Take advantage of other resources.

One of the great things about remote learning is you have a plethora of resources available at any moment. There’s no need to wait until you’re at home or in the library to do more research on a topic or question you might have. As you go through your online courses, make use of the resources available such as the internet (make sure they are reputable sources) or books you have at home. You can even reach out to experts from all over the world (and get a reply quickly if you’re lucky!) or the experts in your life for help. 

8. Make sure to take breaks.

Just as you would have time for breaks or moments of socialization in school, make sure you have time for these while studying remotely. Burning out is a very real threat that affects remote learners, and taking breaks is one of the best ways to combat this. Set apart at least 5 minutes of break time every hour for you to step away from the screen or just stand up and stretch. It’s also important to set aside time for exercise or going outside to be in nature so that you can recharge your batteries and come back to studying with more energy. 

9. Focus on your goals.

It can be hard to find meaning in anything during a pandemic. Staying motivated to study online takes a lot of effort and it can be draining if you don’t have the right mindset. When times get tough, go back to your goals and remind yourself why you are pursuing an education. Think of how this can help you achieve your career goals and make your dreams come true. Challenges and hardship will always be there, but you also have the strength and abilities to overcome them. Remember that there is a lot to gain from virtual learning if you keep your eyes on the prize.

Studying at Q College can bring you closer to your academic and career goals. Find out more about Q College’s virtual and in-person classes by visiting our website