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Education

7 Steps For Successful Online Learning

Online courses can be a more convenient and sometimes cheaper learning tool. However, enrolling in an online course can make it difficult to focus on your studies. It can be difficult to stay focused because you often absorb the material in your free time.

First, create a rigorous learning plan and stick to it. Find a way to work with online materials. For example, you may need to print lecture notes to study away from your computer. Try to use effective learning skills. Learning skills that work in any course can be applied to online courses.

1. Select a study space with reliable Internet access. 

You will probably need to refer to online lectures and notes when you study. Therefore, you will need a study space where your Internet access will not be interrupted. Internet access will be particularly important during things like study sessions for your class.

You can study at home, if you know you won’t distract yourself. Many people, however, have difficulty concentrating when they try to study at home. This is one of the challenges of online courses.

A place like an Internet cafe usually has reliable Internet access, as do some coffee shops and restaurants. Just make sure employees won’t mind you hanging around these places for long hours while you study. You can also try a library.

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2. Print out any materials you can. 

Sometimes, a computer can be a distraction. It can be helpful to turn your laptop off at times to study. In addition to helping you study away from your computer, you can highlight printed out materials and also make notes in the margins.

If you prefer to read typed lectures or reading material on a screen, you may want to invest in a Kindle. These aren’t backlit, which reduces eye strain compared to reading on a computer screen. You should also print out things like a course schedule and syllabus. It’s good to have a physical copy of these materials to refer to throughout the course.

3. Take notes on online lectures. 

You should take notes online as rigorously as you would during a physical lecture. Sit with a pen and paper and take careful, legible notes in front of your computer. Handwritten notes increase your retention of the material better than typed notes. Use headings and dates to keep track of what materials are covered in each section of your notes. You can refer to these headings later when studying.

Do not try to record every single detail an instructor said. Instead, jot down the general idea and any insights that help you better understand the material. Later, when you’re studying, you can refer to your notes to remember the major ideas of the course.

Even if you can re-watch lectures, taking notes is still helpful. It helps better remember the material later and you can also write down key material. If you need to, say, remember a date, you can refer to your notes instead of searching the video for the specific moment when this date was mentioned.

4. Read difficult information out loud. 

If you’re really struggling to understand something, reading it out loud can help. You will both see and hear the material, helping you better commit it to memory. If a lot of your online course material is text, this can be very helpful. If you have written lectures, for example, you won’t hear them read out loud by an instructor. It can help to read them out loud yourself

5. Avoid online distractions. 

It can be difficult to focus on your online course if you have a social media account open in another tab or are receiving notifications on your computer. When you’re doing classwork, avoid browsing the Internet, checking your email, and other distractions.

6. Have goals for each study session. 

Never go into a study session undirected. Have specific goals each time you sit down to study. You can break the material up into chunks and study one chunk at a time. Make a schedule for yourself, with individual study sessions divided by topic

7. Quiz and test yourself. 

Simple memorization can only go so far. One of the most effective means to memorize material is giving yourself tests and quizzes. Quizzing can improve memorization because of a process called “retrieval.” Every time a memory is retrieved, it becomes more accessible in the future. If there are practice tests and quizzes available online, take as many as you can. You can also make up tests and quizzes for yourself.

Flashcards can be a great way to test yourself on things like vocabulary and dates. You can also write down potential exam questions as you study. This can be very helpful if you’re expecting an essay test. After you finish studying, take the test you made for yourself.

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