Online education has become popular in recent years. With a global pandemic ruling the world, online learning is at an all-time high. The effectiveness of learning remotely is a much-debated topic, however, it has ‘saved our bacon’ during a time of restriction on our activities. Utilizing technology has enabled children and adults to continue with their education journey and although it has its limitations, it has been a worthwhile tool with other options cut off from us.
Even before the pandemic, remote learning has been gaining popularity. Many students from countries like China have been using online education to learn English from native English speakers. E-learning is also used in many businesses as a training tool for new staff and continued professional development. It is also useful for individuals who have commitments at home but want to learn something new or take a course. Remote learning has led to location independence, which has opened up a plethora of opportunities for many.
So how can you maximize the effectiveness of online learning? Choosing the appropriate platform for learning is important. It can mean the difference between a positive learning experience or a negative one. Researching the available platforms is an important first step. Some companies will allow you a free trial and you can check out a useful buying guide to compare platforms and read reviews. Your choice of platform will largely depend on course content. Some courses will use their own custom-built classroom designed by the company, others will use one designed for all different courses, like Zoom. What other ways can you make online learning enjoyable?
Establish a routine
If, like many others, you struggle to figure out what day it is at that moment, establishing a consistent routine may help you manage your time more effectively. Working and learning from home has gotten many people into a rut of rolling out of bed, staying in PJs, and working long past office hours.
Consider structuring your day around online lessons. Get up in time, shower, eat breakfast and prepare any homework or tasks you’ve been set. Log in to your class on time and be attentive. Spend some time after checking over any notes you have written and processed what you’ve learned. Try to keep your routine as close to ‘normal’ as possible and if practical, work in a separate space from your other home-based activities; this helps you switch off from learning when you want to relax. And remember to take a break during the day. After lessons, get some fresh air and go for a stroll. Exercising will help you be more productive.
Participate in online education
With restrictions on our interactions, it’s important we stay connected as much as we can. Under normal circumstances learners would collaborate with others in a classroom setting, however, in this new setting, it is still possible to participate and share thoughts and ideas. You will likely be logged in with a camera and microphone. Some platforms have a function where you can raise your hand if you want to share something. Get into the habit of doing this even if your comment is brief, it will help you feel connected and may motivate others to open up too. We are in this together so it’s important to find ways to communicate.
One of the downsides of remote learning is the variety of distractions that exist in our homes. It’s so easy to get sidetracked into doing housework tasks, scrolling social media on phones, or taking too many coffee breaks. Putting aside tech not directly related to learning is a good habit and will help us not to get tempted to engage in time-wasting activities.
Scheduling time for household chores will help us separate tasks and not allow them to integrate into each other. It will help our mental well-being to be organized and efficient and help make the most out of specified learning time.
It may be that remote learning is the ‘norm’ for you or it may be a 2020/21 thing. Either way, it takes effort to not let this way of working overwhelm us. The positive side of online learning is that you can work when you are most productive. Apart from scheduled class times, other work required can be done when it’s most convenient for you. So if you are a night owl you can incorporate course study into the evening, if you are a morning person you could get up with the sun and produce your best work then. Either way working remotely allows you some autonomy and applying the above suggestions will help you get the maximum benefits of online learning.