Tips for Online Learning: 5 Ways to Succeed

Online classes are quickly becoming a standard for colleges and universities. As the educational space continues to expand upon online learning, it’s good practice for every college student to become familiar with this style of learning. Here are some tips for online learning.

How does online learning work?

Thousands of adults enroll in online universities every year. It’s a great option for working adults, adults with children, or anyone who may be juggling other responsibilities. 

Online classes require you to have access to a computer or laptop, and a stable internet connection. You’ll likely also need a webcam in case your course requires video conferencing via Zoom, for example. Your professor will communicate with you via email and your “online classroom”, such as Canvas or Blackboard. This is where you’ll be turning in assignments and communicating with other classmates as well. You may also have a digital textbook (eBook), or a physical one, depending on what your course requires. 

Although every class will have different requirements, the way you go about online learning will remain the same for the most part. If you’re a first time online learner, or just want to become a more efficient student, you can use these tips to make your semester as successful as possible. 

  • Stay engaged

Remaining engaged in a class throughout the semester can be a problem for many students–not only with online classes, but in-person classes as well. It’s extremely important to stay engaged in your online classes. One of the simplest ways to do this is by participating in every aspect of the class. Actively engage with your classmates whenever possible. Attend every lecture, if applicable, and take detailed notes. Study on a regular and consistent basis. Treat your classwork as you would treat a job. This will ensure that you stay engaged in your classes. It’s also a great study tool and an effective way to retain information.

  • Hold yourself accountable

It can be easy to lose focus when you’re not going to a physical classroom everyday and being reminded of due dates. This is why it’s very important to be self-motivated and hold yourself accountable. Many people find it hard to have self-motivation, and that’s completely normal. However, a lack of accountability could be the difference between passing and failing a class. 

Consider teaming up with a fellow classmate for weekly check-ins. You may study together, or just make an effort to remind each other of deadlines. Likewise, you can have a spouse or family member help hold you accountable. Although a majority of online classes are independent, remember that you are not alone in it. There may be people in your life who are willing to help you succeed.

  • Practice time management

One of the most important skills to develop in college is being able to successfully manage your time and create and follow a schedule. When it comes to online classes, you’ll often be able to make your own schedule. This can be extremely valuable, but it can also be detrimental to your grades. So, it’s important to practice effective time management to make sure you don’t fall behind and become overwhelmed.

Firstly, read the syllabus at the beginning of the semester, and write down all assignments and their due dates. 

Once you know when everything is due, plan out your days and weeks accordingly. Block out periods on your schedule for studying, class time, working on assignments, and reading. Dedicate specific and comfortable amounts of time to each task. As the semester progresses, you’ll gradually start to learn how much time needs to be spent on certain assignments. 

You can also use your phone to remind you of when assignments must be completed, or to set timers for scheduled items. Remember that your time doesn’t have to be planned down to the second, and that you’ll probably go off schedule once or twice in the beginning. Just make sure to hold yourself accountable and always get back on track. 

  • Have a designated study space

When you’re studying from home, it can be difficult to establish a working routine. During your online classes, you may find that you work better at a desk in a home office, or maybe at your kitchen table. Others may work best from a local library or coffee shop, free from household distractions. If you’re someone who gets easily distracted, this may be the case for you. Whatever environment works best is up to you. However, it is important to use one of these places as a designated study space. This will help you to create a routine and make it easier to transition from your “home brain” to your “work brain”. 

  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help

College can be overwhelming, whether it’s online or in-person. If you don’t ask for help when you need it, you’ll continue to struggle and become even more overwhelmed and stressed out. There are plenty of resources available to help you if you’re struggling with academics. Reach out to your professors or academic advisors.