We’ve seen quite the rise in online learning in the last year or so. While some have been completing online courses for years, others are attempting an online course for their very first time.

We know online learning can be a daunting concept for newcomers and veterans alike, so we’ve compiled a list of study tips for you!

1. Create a dedicated study space:

Having a dedicated study area can make online learning more effective. It can help you recall information easier, and encourage you to take effective study breaks. Remove any distractions and keep your space organized. You should also take some time to set up your space to be ergonomically-friendly. 

2. Set daily goals:

Determine what you hope to accomplish in a given day. Clear, achievable goals will keep you motivated and prevent procrastination. Be sure to reward yourself too when you do meet your goals! This could be time spent taking a short walk, listening to music, indulging in a special treat, or calling a friend.

3. Join the discussion:

Taking part in course discussions is a great way to ensure you have a clear idea of course expectations, share resources, and even make new friends. It also increases the likelihood of completing your course successfully.

4. Take a break:

Online learning can mean a lot of time looking at a screen. Build some well deserved rest time into your schedule – away from technology! Take a 5 minute stretching break or try the 20-20-20 rule: for every 20 minutes spent looking at a screen, look at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds.

5. Take notes and ask questions:

Just because you’re not in a traditional classroom setting, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t still take notes. Grab a pad of paper or open a word doc and jot down the important bits. Having your thoughts out on paper will make it easier to retain information and will be a tremendous help when studying for your exam later. It’s also easy to feel as though you have to complete your course completely on your own, when really that’s not true at all. Your teacher wants to hear from you! Reach out whenever you have questions or even if you just want to discuss a topic in more depth.

6. Remove distractions:

From your phone, that book you’ve been meaning to read, to even chores, you will face a multitude of distractions while learning online from home. Tip #1 (creating a dedicated workspace) will definitely help diminish distractions, but some will still filter through. Ridding yourself of distractions can be easy. It could be as simple as setting your phone in another room, out of reach, closing the door to your room or study area, or using an application such as Freedom to block websites like social media while you study so that you’re not tempted. Find the solution that works best for you.

7. Find out when you work best:

Now that you’ve created a dedicated workspace and eliminated distractions think about when it is that you accomplish your best work. Are you more productive first thing in the morning before breakfast? Or do you do your best thinking after lunch? Maybe it’s between 10am and noon, and 6pm and 9pm. Work out a schedule that is going to allow you to work when you are at your most optimal.

8. Figure out how you learn:

Everyone learns differently. The 4 basic types of learning are visual learners, auditory learners, kinesthetic learners, and reading and writing learners. Each have unique ways of processing information. If you know what type of learner you are, you’re better able to adapt how you study to be able to retain more information. Try taking a quiz to find out what type of learner you are!

9. Put on some white noise:

Sometimes too little stimulation, such as an absolutely quiet room, can have the opposite effect you expect! If you can’t focus on your work and aren’t sure why not, try putting on some white noise or soft music in the background. A moderate amount of ambient noise actually helps with concentration, retention, and productivity. So pop in your headphones and listen to some white noise or music.

10. Check up on your mental health:

Your mental well-being plays a large role in your learning abilities. Check in with yourself periodically and see how you’re doing. Take care of yourself, however that looks to you, it could be filling your workspace with motivational/inspiring quotes on sticky notes, having healthy snacks near by, spending some time outside, or making sure you’re interacting with others by chatting with a friend before and after “class”.

If you or someone you know is in need of support, please reach out to someone you trust or visit kidshelpphone.ca, Wellness Together Canada, or the Canadian Mental Health Association.