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Tips and tricks to online learning

Hands typing on a keyboard
Image Credit: Angela Mcinnes

If COVID-19’s got you down, I got you covered.

Here are some tips and tricks to motivate your online learning experience.

1. Learn how you learn

This is the hardest tip to fully grasp as it takes the most time. Realistically, life will always be teaching you about yourself but specifically, what has school taught you about how you learn?

Are you someone who needs repetition to cement the information in their mind? Or are you someone who needs to talk it out, alone or with someone, to make sense of new information?

Do you work better alone or with others? Lastly, when are you most productive?

The answers to these questions can help you begin understanding how you can get the most out of your online learning experience.

Talk to your school counsellors, academic advisors, and program coordinators to ensure the learning outcomes of your course/program are delivered to you in a way you learn.

2. Time management

This is a great skill to start developing while in school especially when studying online. You have to structure your day as if you are in the classroom, allowing for breaks in between just as you normally would.

Time management becomes difficult if your classroom, social circle, and leisure time revolves around a computer as most of us are experiencing. This is where the need to schedule time off is just as important to scheduling your work. This includes time away from your devices.

If scheduling is new to you, time blocking is a great place to start. Set aside a certain amount of time for a specific task with a timer. Once the time is reached, move on to your next task even if you are not finished. This will help you organize how long it takes you to achieve certain tasks allowing for better scheduling in the future.

With practice, time management can be an essential building block to a healthy work to life balance.

3. Create a routine and stick to it

This may sound similar to time management because in a sense it is. However, routine allows you to put into practice your scheduling skills.

Creating a personal routine from morning to night may seem tedious especially if you are not leaving your home, but creating structure in your day can make or break what comes of it.

A routine trains your body and mind to expect certain stimuli at a certain time that can help ward off some of the unmotivating aspects of online learning.

I suggest your routine incorporates an exercise schedule and leisure time to ensure you aren’t drowning in work.

It may take a little while to get used to and you will probably tweak here and there, but building a routine brings you one step closer to surviving online learning.

4. Create spaces for yourself

This may sound odd especially if you are living in shared/small spaces, but it is the one tip that has allowed me to relax on my most stressful days.

Creating a space designated for work and rest/relaxation is not as complex and expensive as it may sound to some. I have a desk in which the central focus is work and only work while my bed is just for rest/relaxation and I do not mix the two spaces. I do not do work on my bed and I do not casually browse the internet at my desk.

Creating these two distinct spaces allows my mind to separate into work or relaxation mode, granting me more focus on the task at hand.

I also add small elements of myself into my workspace like plants, candles, and incense. These personal touches add to the ambiance allowing me to get lost in my work.

Plants and candles aren’t everyone’s cup of tea so add your own personal flair to your space. Make your space useful for you regardless of its size.

5. Breathe, you’ll get through this.

The last tip is not really a tip but more so a word of advice.

Don’t be so hard on yourself. You are probably trying your best and although it may not seem like it’s enough, sometimes it’s all you can give and that’s okay.