Taking an online class is only half the challenge. If you want to complete the course successfully, then you have to know how to study the material effectively. This, of course, is a little trickier and is something everyone struggles with, regardless of the class they are taking.
All Online Learners Should Know About
Fortunately, there are lots of tips and tricks that you can use to make this situation a little easier. If you are eager to learn how you can study more efficiently and retain what you are learning, this is what you need to know:
Create a Structured Learning Environment
As an online learner, you have a great deal of freedom. Since you don’t have to be tied down to a physical classroom, it is often up to you to set up your study space. Not to mention, as there isn’t too much oversight, your exact studying time is left up to you.
All of this autonomy can come at a cost, however. In many instances, online learners struggle to create a proper structure for themselves. As a result, they find it challenging to study or pay attention to their online courses properly.
This is you must set up the right learning and study environment. For instance, if possible, create a study nook for yourself, even if you are taking the course from your office or home.
Next, create a schedule that is reminiscent of your college classes. Make sure you set aside time each day to review your work and complete the given assignments.
Be Dedicated from the Start
Most learners — online and otherwise — tend to start studying at the last moment. Now, for some, this can seem like a somewhat logical approach. After all, if you begin reviewing your work just before an exam or test, you may be more likely to remember the information.
Unfortunately, this isn’t what happens at all. See, when you try to memorize too many facts at once, only a portion of what you are reading is retained. This is probably because you aren’t going through your notes as thoroughly as you should. Thus, only a small portion of what you are studying actually sticks in your mind.
For the best results, you need to begin studying the moment you learn a new concept. Make sure to go over this material at regular intervals, until it is time for your exams or assignments. This process of constantly reminding yourself of what you have learned will ensure that the information stays in your long-term memory.
Outline the Main Objectives of the Course
One of the issues that you may face with studying is that you might be unsure of what areas you should be focusing on. After all, most courses can be rather broad — how are you supposed to know what the key concepts are? To discover this, it is a good idea to go through the course’s aims and objectives. These will often be provided by the creator and act as a guideline for what you should be learning.
Now that you know what you need to study, your next step is to break down these concepts so that you reach the goals being set by the course creator. For instance, let’s imagine that your course is on social media marketing and that one of the goals is to understand follower engagement. It is up to you to organize your study material so that you will be able to grasp this concept fully.
Practice What You Learn
Simply reading and making notes on online courses will only take you so far. This is because this type of studying is rather passive. If you want to really understand what you are studying, consider taking prep courses or tests based on the material you are learning.
Thanks to educational sites such as testmaxprep.com you can do this at any point in your course. Simply take a quiz or test that is based on the material you have studied. The questions will force you to utilize this knowledge more comprehensively. Not to mention, they will also get you to consider what you have learned in a different light.
Participate in Online Discussions
Ask any college student and they will tell you that one of the best ways to learn is by engaging in discussions with your teacher and fellow learners.
In this scenario, you can question what is being taught and look at it from all other angles. Furthermore, you can gain insight into other people’s perspectives and broaden your horizons quite a bit as well.
The same thing can be applied for online learning, as well. Of course, since the setting is different, you need to adapt your discussion skills to suit this virtual reality. In particular, you must learn online discussion etiquette, particularly in an educational setting.
It is crucial to always listen to what other participants are saying and consider their viewpoints. Don’t interrupt people. Instead, wait till they have finished making their arguments. It is just as imperative always to be courteous — don’t use all caps and maintain a neutral tone when writing.
If you want to post a dissenting view, always do so in a civil way. Avoid sarcasm or anything else that can be misconstrued. Remember, your message can always get lost in translation because people can’t hear you. Since you don’t want to rile up anybody else, be respectful and stay on point.
These are the most important study tips to remember as an online learner. Put all these into practice, and you should find that your coursework becomes much easier to manage. What’s more, you will probably end up learning and retaining even more than before. Thus, it will be a win-win situation for you.
Leslie Sherman has been a teacher for over two decades, with a focus on strategic learning theories. Over the years, she has managed to identify and isolate the learning techniques that work and has figured out how to improve them even further. In turn, this enabled her to become a much better teacher.