E-learning and online classes are growing in popularity. Students who have only operated in traditional classrooms might find the adjustment to online learning difficult. Luckily, there are some easy ways to set yourself up for success in an online learning environment.
Firstly, it’s important to remember that online learning is not easier than your traditional education avenues. It takes just as much time and dedication as a classroom but is more convenient for students that might have commitments outside of school.
If you’re taking an e-learning or online class for the first time, here are some ways to set yourself up for success.
Ensure you have reliable internet access
Almost every facet of an online class requires internet access. From interactive online classrooms to discussion boards and the process of turning in assignments — it’s all done on the web.
If you don’t have reliable internet access, it can impact your success. Imagine not being able to turn in a project on time or getting docked points for not being present during an online class. Those things can add up and cause you to fail.
Make sure you have access to an internet connection before signing up for a course or ask where you can access the internet for free. Often libraries and community centers offer free internet for visitors.
Alternatively, your campus might have spaces you can use to access the internet. Ask your counselor or administrative office for more information.
Treat it like a regular class
Show up for your online course the way you would a regular classroom. Pencil it in for the same time, on the same days, every week.
Organize your assignments and due dates the way you do for your other classes. Put them in your planner or calendar, create a folder that houses all your notes and worksheets, and make sure you have it with you every time you sit down to take your online class.
Your online classes matter just as much as your other classes, so why would you treat it any differently?
Set aside a “study space”
Create a space in your home that is free of distractions to do your online classwork. If you can, make sure you have your phone set to silent and limit other distractions such as television shows or loud environments.
Whether you’re doing your classwork or watching a class and taking notes, having a dedicated space to go to can help keep you focused.
With online classes, it’s more important than ever to keep focused. It’s easy for your attention to drift elsewhere when you’re in a comfortable space that you’re used to. You can let your mind wander to the laundry or the dishes, rather than paying attention to the material you need to know.
Which brings us to the next helpful tip…
Take notes and organize your study materials
Taking notes throughout a class can help you stay focused on the topic. It will also help you retain the knowledge and information the professor shares with you.
Additionally, since online classes often don’t have the engagement and interaction of a real class, it can help you sort out what questions you need to ask or areas you need help with. At that point, you can participate in online discussions or email your professor for clarification.
Whatever you do to help yourself focus, make sure you’re putting it into practice during online classes. It will make a world of difference.
Participate in discussions and forums
Many online classes have a forum or discussion board available for students. This is a great place to get your questions answered and discuss in-class material with your classmates.
While taking an online course, make sure you check in on these discussion boards regularly. It might be beneficial to set aside some time to check them every week. Discussing the material with others can help you process and retain the information, which means you’re likely to do better on assignments and exams. While traditional classes usually have an in-class discussion aspect, the online forums are a way to make up for that with e-learning classes.
Additionally, don’t hesitate to reach out to your professors. They’re generally available via email and discussion boards daily. Don’t let the fact that you’re not in a classroom prevents you from asking questions or getting clarification on topics you don’t understand.
Tap into self-motivation
To successfully complete online classes, you need to be versed in self-motivation. Without seeing people face to face, it becomes easier to slack off and not participate in the class the way you should.
If you know that motivation is hard for you to find, it’s time to start developing those self-motivating habits. Whether that’s setting a strict schedule or stepping out of the home to do classwork — find what works for you and do it.
In e-learning, your success in the classroom is entirely up to you. It’s how much you allow yourself to dedicate time to the class and how much effort you put into succeeding.
As more and more learning options move online, learning how to self-motivate is an essential skill to cultivate for a successful online education.
Keeping these tips in mind can help you take on your first online class experience without worry about whether or not you can handle it. With determination and focus, you’ll be more than ready to succeed.
As always, if you need extra help, make sure you ask for it. Without a professor there to check in with every week, online classes can feel overwhelming and isolating. Ask questions and reach out to your classmates. Engagement is the road to success.