Build Your Strategy To Succeed in Distance Learning – 2020 Guide
While distance learning was imposed on most students to ensure an ongoing education during the pandemic crisis, there are plenty of people who opted for online learning even before that. Indeed, distance education is more flexible and personalized. However, it is essential to build the skills needed for successful learning online and hold yourself accountable for your time management. In this article, we gathered the best practices for you to blossom being a remote learner.
The new reality suggests that we should change our perspective on certain subjects, distance learning being amongst them. The previous generation used to believe that education can only be done in a classroom, and no technological advancement can change that. At the same time, many specialists in education and psychology question the efficiency of offline education.
Benjamin Bloom, an American psychologist and methodologist, once said: “It makes no sense to expect all students to take the same amount of time to achieve the same objectives.” Traditional education is not personalized enough. By taking an online course or getting a degree remotely, you have a chance to build your learning process around your needs and make the most out of it.
Efficient Self-Organization and Time-Management Is the Key
Distance courses have the advantage because they allow you to adapt your schedule according to your other constraints, such as a family, full-time job, or health condition. However, it requires more planning to progress. If you tend to postpone your tasks until the next day, try as much as possible to respect the proposed pace.
Not all students follow the same strategy of organizing their time. You need to find out what works best for you. Here are some tips to help you manage your time more effectively during learning:
- At the start of the course, write down the dates of all of the exams and assignments.
- Determine fixed times each week to work on your distance learning courses and consider the recommended workload.
- Use the lesson plans to set weekly goals and make a specific to-do list for each of your classes.
- Schedule a regular revision of what you learned during a defined period (for example, one week or one month). It will increase your chances of absorbing and digesting the material.
- Consult and actively participate in the discussion forums or chats associated with the courses. Distance learning requires more autonomy, but you are not alone. Make sure you write something into the chat every time you do not understand some concept or have a question. In this way, you kill two birds with one stone: you learn better AND make yourself visible to your professor. In other words, be active!
- Choose several short study sessions with breaks over long periods of continuous work. Regular breaks promote concentration and improve efficiency.
- Don’t wait until the last minute to study! Not only can lateness compromise your learning and performance, but it is also often a source of immense stress.
- Take into account your natural rhythm when organizing your work. Some people are very effective in the morning, while others work better at the end of the day. Being more willing to work will help you stick to your schedule.
- Put in place strategies that allow you to deal with the various limitations linked to other spheres of your life (professional, family, personal ones).
- Limit your screen time and alternate it with other activities, especially during breaks. Whenever you have a pause, go for a walk or, if this is not an option, just look outside and keep your eyes out of the screen.
Is Your Environment Work-Friendly?
Working in a suitable study environment is of special importance. Small things on your desk, noises, and lack of space can seem negligible at first, but they become overly distracting in total. To promote your daily efficiency, make sure to organize your study environment:
- Determine a place where you can work effectively.
- Organize a clear study space in a quiet place in order to limit distractions.
- Pay particular attention to ergonomics (for example, your installation and position in front of the computer, as well as the desk, chair, screen height, etc.) in order to optimize your productivity while preserving your health. Listening to a lecture in bed can be comfy, but this is not practical if you want to take notes.
- Eliminate blue light from your screen. Blue light can be harmful to your biological clock, so healthcare specialists recommend reducing it to the minimum. Such applications as Flux can do it automatically upon the sunset.
- Set appointments to work with your classmates to avoid feelings of isolation and help you get on with the assignment.
- Discuss the course content with your classmates. Besides stimulating your interest, it can help you test your learning or clarify your ideas. What is more, you can practice networking and build a strong relationship with your colleagues.
Establish Effective Study Methods
An important aspect to consider in distance studies is the challenge of targeting priority elements in the content offered. It is particularly difficult for courses where learning is more based on reading texts. Before undertaking the in-depth reading of a text, first look for information in the course material that could guide you on the essential concepts to master. For targeted and effective learning, try to link the topics covered to the lesson plan’s objectives, the documents in PowerPoint format, or the videos.
Organize Your Free Time
If you think your leisure time does not require organizing, you are wrong. After the day of hard work, you are more likely to stay in bed binge-watching, if nothing was planned. Distance learning can have you sit at home all day long, which is destructive when it comes to your health. It’s not that the Netflix-and-chill strategy is bad, but it would be better to plan to do sports or take a dance class for your own sake.
Although online education sometimes requires more adaptation initially, once this period has passed, students often find that they have developed highly sought-after skills in the job market, such as autonomy, time management, and organization.