How to Make the Most of Virtual Learning
Whether it’s an MOOC, an online SAT course, or another virtual learning experience, there are a variety of reasons why students may turn to digital courses. Now, amidst growing concerns over the recent novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, many schools across the globe are opting for virtual learning so students can continue their coursework during school closures.
While holding class via Skype, Zoom, or other video conferencing software is necessary for some schools that are closing for a month or more, virtual learning is more than just continuing to hold class so students don’t get behind. There are actually a lot of benefits to virtual learning. Studies have shown that virtual learning is just as effective as classroom learning, meaning students aren’t just staying on track with coursework – they actually have the opportunity to get ahead when working diligently. Switching from the classroom to the computer can feel like a major transition, however it is possible to stay engaged and continue on with your studies. Keep reading for some of our top tips on how to make the most of virtual learning during any circumstance.
Create a Schedule
One of the most challenging aspects of virtual learning is the lack of structure. During a typical school day, students are expected to follow a strict schedule, often starting in the early hours of the morning. While it may be tempting to put off online work for later in the day, it’s best to stick to similar hours and avoid procrastinating. Set an alarm every morning, get dressed, and eat breakfast, just as you would if you were attending courses in-person. This sense of routine will help get you in the mindset for schoolwork.
Carve Out a Space
Avoid working from your bed or sitting in front of the television. Instead, create your own workspace, even if it’s just a chair at your kitchen table. Strive to establish a distraction-free zone by keeping electronics and entertainment away from your workspace. Stock up on all of the essentials you would use during a typical school day, such as a calculator, notebook, and bottle of water. If your designated work space is more noisy than you’re used to, consider putting in headphones for deeper concentration.
Pencil in Constructive Breaks
Set aside time for meals, exercise, and relaxation, even if you plan on staying home all day. Every few hours, get up from you work station and get in some movement, even if it’s just light stretching. Take a lunch break away from your computer and give yourself time to enjoy your meal. Carving out these break periods will help students stay focused and feel energized.
Don’t Forget About Socializing
During a normal school day, most students have the opportunity to interact with peers and teachers. It can be easy to go into isolation mode if you’re following an online learning course, but strive to make virtual connections with your friends and check in on them. Whether it’s texting during one of your study breaks or FaceTiming during lunch, don’t be afraid to reach out to your peers and stay in touch.
Check in With Yourself
In addition to keeping tabs on your friends, check in with yourself and reflect on your process. Online learning can be challenging, particularly if it is due to an unexpected scenario such as the COVID-19 outbreak. Before beginning your studies each morning, have a concrete list of goals you would like to accomplish and items to check off of your to-do list. Before signing off for the day, review this list and reflect on your progress. It’s normal to have a few outstanding items from time to time, but if you’re constantly struggling to get through your checklist, it may be time to reconsider your work habits. These daily check-ins will also help keep you accountable and engaged in your coursework.
Online learning can be an adjustment, but it can also be a meaningful experience, particularly when students prepare and continue to reflect on their progress. If you are looking for personalized advice on how to make the most of virtual learning experiences, or need help creating a distance learning program due to a school closure, our team of expert counselors and tutors is here to help. IvyWise works virtually with students across the globe, and has the tools to help you stay on track and engaged while classes are postponed. Contact us today.