How to Be a Successful Online Learner
Check out 9 useful tips to make your online learning experience smooth and productive.
Let’s be realistic. Online learning requires just as much, if not more, commitment and effort as traditional classroom learning. We have handpicked a few quick tips to help you make the entire process effective and painless.
Grab a cup of your favourite drink, pull up an easy chair, and let’s dive in.
1. Get organized.
Draw a clear plan for the upcoming week. Have your to-do list at hand and review it on a daily basis.
An online tool like Trello can help you stay on top of your tasks. If you prefer a physical notebook, go for it. The takeaway is ─ have everything in one place for ease of access and regular reference.
Create a study calendar. A helpful option is to use your AUA email calendar. Zoom conferences, meetings, events, submission deadlines, exam dates, workshops… Keep the dates on your calendar, and the calendar will take care of reminders.
Manage your time effectively. As an online learner, you have three enemies: procrastination, procrastination, and procrastination. Don’t wait until all of your assignments pile up and bury your motivation underneath. Establish a daily study routine and stick to it.
Remove distractions. You can’t predict how many times your phone will ting with a notification, but you can set aside time for intense tasks that require full focus. No calls, no messages till you have this one task accomplished!
2. Be responsible.
Always show up for your online classes and meetings. When you miss a class, you usually end up spending more time on learning your lessons.
Read carefully your course requirements, create notes during the meetings, and make sure you review them thoroughly before working on an assignment. This will remove the clutter and enable your mind to focus.
Check your email daily not to miss important announcements or last-minute schedule changes.
Become tech-savvy. Spend some time to learn the ins and outs of the platform you use for your classes. A few technical hacks can make the entire learning experience smoother.
3. Protect yourself from technical mishaps.
Make sure you have a reliable internet connection. Think of possible alternatives in case your main connection fails (e.g. sharing your mobile connection by hotspot can be a lifesaver when your network is lost).
Have a backup of your files and documents. An important file is lost right before the submission? Things happen, but you can take control in your hands by saving all documents on your Google Drive, Dropbox, or an external flash memory.
4. Create Your Comfort.
Think about what makes the learning process easy for you and bring in those elements. A cup of tea? More plants? Relaxing music? You decide.
Have a dedicated study space. A comfortable chair, a table, a small bookshelf for your papers and books…
If possible, set up a separate room exclusively for you; close the door while learning, so the family knows it’s a ‘do not disturb’ time and you need full concentration.
If you share work/study space with family (many of us do!), arrange different work hours because having distraction-free time will increase your productivity and creativity.
5. Listen to Your Strengths.
Some of us learn effectively in the morning. Others are more productive in the evenings and will describe themselves as ‘night owls’.
Some of us can work on a task for two hours without interruption. Others will need five-minute breaks every 30 minutes of studying.
Some of us are more effective when they start with the most difficult task first. Others will need a warm-up with easier tasks before they handle the complex ones.
You have your own strengths. Recognize them. Use them!
6. Stay connected.
Practice physical distancing not social distancing. The feeling of loneliness tends to snowball, often resulting in social withdrawal. Conversely, a strong community that gives you a sense of belonging helps to boost your mental well-being.
Interaction with peers, faculty and AUA staff is an essential part of your success. True, we are going online, but we should keep in touch whenever possible. You need your peers’ and professors’ encouragement to keep moving forward despite difficulties (and, yes, you are going to have them).
Walk away from classes and have fun with friends (even if it has to be online). The Office of Student Affairs, for example, will host online activities, games, and competitions on its private Facebook Group. Join the group to meet new friends and have great conversations. Did we mention that our students run Facebook live broadcasts from Student FM 003?
7. Take care of your mind and body.
It’s you against the biggest challenge: long hours in front of the screens. Your gadgets will steal a lot of time you could spend on walking, exercising or simply moving.
Seize the moment. Stand up and walk around whenever you can. Go out for a 20-minute walk and come back with a refreshed mind and body.
Make time for healthy meals to give your body the nutrients it needs. Get enough sleep to clean up your brain of unnecessary information. Exercise to stay healthy and fit. If possible, go to nature to recover and recoup.
8. Find the silver lining.
You know the quote, right? Every cloud has a silver lining. This means that every difficult situation has a comforting or helpful aspect.
Concentrate on how you can benefit from this new situation.
Just think about it. You don’t have to waste time on long commutes. You don’t have to sit in endless traffic jams. You do have the opportunity to spend more time with your family, loved ones, and pets.
Even if online learning is not the easiest way of learning, most of the time, it’s a more convenient method of learning. You have more flexibility to set up your own schedule. You learn from the comfort of your home or… a nearby park!
9. Ask for help
Les Brown said it best: “Ask for help. Not because you are weak. But because you want to remain strong”.
AUA faculty and staff are committed to making your learning experience as smooth as possible. We are here to guide you through any question you might have.
Never be shy to reach out for help. Turn to your professors. Turn to your peer mentors.
Use AUA services to achieve your learning goals faster:
ICTS to get timely technical support.
AUA’s Library to find the books and resources you need for your studies.
Math and Writing Center to get answers if you have questions related to math and writing assignments.
Counseling Services to prevent and overcome stress and to handle any psychological or mental health problem you may experience.
Wait. Don’t forget to bookmark this article to have it for your future reference. That’s it! We wish you a productive and memorable academic year!
Our team at the Office of Student Affairs would like to express its gratitude to our students who provided the photos used in this guide. Special thanks go to Dayana Amirkhanyan, Inesa Melikyan, Anush Grigoryan, and Anna Danielyan!