If you are new to online learning, first of all, we welcome you. Learning online is a great way to increase your knowledge and skills in a unique and flexible environment with its strengths and opportunities.
Whether you’re trying online classes for the first time or looking for ways to strengthen your current habits and approaches, there are some key areas to consider to set yourself up for success and make the most of everything you’ve got to offer you. Online programs and courses
In this online learning tips and best practices blog from our team of learning designers, industry experts, and other learners, we’ll share tips and strategies to help you succeed in your learning, including ways to:
“I realized that some of the best students have very good study habits and methods. “I used to think that success in learning depended on some innate ability, but then I realized that the techniques you use are even more important,” said Olav Shewe, CEO of Educas and instructor of Learn Like a Pro on eresto.
In our modern learning landscape, there is a wealth of content on virtually any topic to watch, read, and listen to. To get the most out of online learning, make sure you develop new knowledge and skills in a way that you can retain, apply repeatedly, and adapt to new contexts.
- Do Your Part: Leverage established principles of practice, application, and reflection from the science of learning. To ensure that your newly learned knowledge and skills stick with you, it is important to repeatedly practice the skills, apply the knowledge in different contexts, and reflect on what you have learned, especially as you practice and apply it in new environments. A well-designed learning experience will give you opportunities to practice, apply, and reflect, but you can reinforce your learning outside of a class by connecting it to your everyday life and work.
- Video Strategies: For recorded videos, pause them and write a brief summary of what you heard in the notes every few minutes. For live video, especially if the video is available to watch later, avoid taking notes. Pay attention to what you are hearing and participate in the discussion to maintain your focus. Raise your virtual hand or ask a question in the chat.
- Take advantage of video groups: If offered, these small group (live) discussions will allow you to hear other perspectives or review challenging material as a group.
Research shows that watching a video twice does not have the same impact as spending the same amount of time applying, discussing, thinking, and writing about what you learn.
Self-care is important for a successful learning experience. A healthy mind (and a healthy body) is a mind ready to learn.
- Define your learning needs: Ask for flexible ways to participate in a class that works for you. This is important for students who require specific accommodations, such as a note-taker or extended testing time, it may also be important for all students.
- Schedule breaks: get up and walk, go outside, schedule your distractions, and don’t forget to move. There are plenty of apps to keep you on task, remind you to get up and take breaks, and turn off notifications for those that distract you.
- Maintain healthy habits: your brain, like your body, needs rest and exercise. Sleep, stay hydrated, get out, eat well.
One of the biggest benefits of online learning is flexibility, but too much freedom can pose new challenges. Avoid procrastination and find ways to structure and optimize your time to learn better (the when and where) and keep your learning on track.
- Keep track of deadlines: Add delivery dates to a calendar so you don’t miss important deadlines.
- Minimize distractions: As much as you can, minimize distractions in both your physical environment and your digital environment. Close web browser windows that are not relevant to your learning, keep the TV off, etc.
- Make time for learning: This doesn’t mean you need to find four-hour blocks, three days a week. Online learning is designed to be modular and flexible. You can find 15 minutes to watch a short video lecture and write a three-sentence reflection post. But of course, other learning activities will require more time. Be as planned and spend time learning as you would exercise or spend time with friends.
“The courses are built so that you can watch the videos and then do the practical activities again. I worked nights and weekends, and it was ideal to not necessarily have to sit down and concentrate for a long period,” Courtney said, an eresto student who completed the MicroBachelors Introduction to Databases de program at NYUx.
Social learning and community
Online learning offers connections with both world-class teachers and a global community of passionate peers. Find ways to connect with these rich learning communities, from participating in forums to networking with your peers.
- Keep your instructor informed: ask your instructor for help when you need it, let them know if you are sick, can’t log in, etc.
- Meet and interact virtually with your fellow learners: You are not alone! Introduce yourself, answer questions posted by the instructor in the discussion forums, and respond to your classmates’ posts.
- Create a group on social networks: in addition to the forums, create a different space, such as a Facebook group or a WhatsApp chat, so that you and your classmates connect, share interests, and support each other.
- Create virtual study groups: Keep the line open and find ways to connect with your fellow learners in small study groups. Video chat apps are a great way to do this.
- Give and Expect Respect: Especially during asynchronous communication like discussion boards and email, it can be easy to misinterpret someone’s meaning. Like you, your colleagues are real people. Do your part to foster a respectful and supportive community.
Last but not least: logistics. Mastering the details of your learning experience can pay off very well.
- Make relevant information easily accessible: Collect phone numbers, email addresses, and support links for your institution in one place, so, if you need it, you don’t have to waste a lot of time looking for it. For example, who are the teaching assistants for the course, and how do you contact them? If you have technical problems, which department do you contact?
- Have the technology ready: If the course requires video conferencing software, download the application and test it well before you start a live conference. If assignments are uploaded to a cloud service (e.g. Google Drive,
- Dropbox), make sure you have the necessary account details or access the information before the deadline.
- Minimize reliance on WiFi: If possible, use an Ethernet cable and download course materials to work offline. Many online courses also work on mobile devices, but others do not. Have a plan for Internet access.
- Always save your work: Save your work locally on your computer and/or in the cloud where you can easily access it. For example, write essays in a word processing application or in an email to yourself, then copy and paste your work into the course LMS (learning management system) to turn in your assignment.
Looking for more strategies for online learning success? Learn about online learning while you experience it: Take our course How to Learn Online, where you’ll dive into some of the most powerful techniques, backed by science, which you can start using immediately and on any learning platform.
In your learning process, you will learn the best way in which you learn, which will help you achieve your learning objectives more quickly.
You can benefit from educational technology, for example through the Internet and virtual education you can access virtual learning and content from different educational institutions, and you will be able to take high-quality courses at your own pace. There are more and more new technologies that promote distance education and e-learning.
Traditional education (face-to-face courses) can benefit from information and communication technologies since they enhance collaborative learning and interactivity.
For example, a campus class may include teaching materials from online courses from recognized higher education institutions, so that students can discuss and work together.