Unlike learning in a classroom with your fellow peers, online learning requires quite a bit of discipline that can be difficult to manage at times, and this can even impact your productivity and grades. The same can be said for distance learning, which is done without the presence of a teacher or lecturer to guide you through the lesson. So, how do you go about your online study while maintaining productivity at home?
Stick to a Schedule
With online classes usually able to be accessed 24/7, it may be tempting to put off your studies until later in the day or even take class from the comfort of your bed. But no matter how attractive this may seem, it’s always better to stick to a routine – one that mirrors your day in classes as closely as possible.
Set some time aside to sit down and create a timetable, blocking out an appropriate length of time for each subject you need to study. There’s no point in leaving a 4-hour window for one subject, as you’ll likely burn yourself out and find it difficult to retain knowledge, which will negatively impact productive learning.
It’s also important to leave breaks in your timetable to avoid feeling overwhelmed. Leave time during your day to eat lunch or go for a brief walk, to get you away from your computer screen and decompress.
Create a Dedicated Study Space
Rather than studying on your bed, in the living room or on the kitchen counter, set aside some space in your bedroom (or anywhere else in the home) to focus on your distance learning. Doing so will take you out of more distracting environments, such as a busy living area.
A well set-up study area will help you in many ways – the right lighting can help you focus, headphones can block out noise, and a comfortable chair will keep you from wanting to move about during your online lessons. You can get as creative as you like with the space – if it makes you happy to be there, the more attention you can give to your studies.
Take Notes the Traditional Way
Research suggests that you are more productive and retain concepts much better if you take your notes with pen and paper rather than typing them into your computer. This is because, when working from a laptop, you tend to type phrases exactly as they are presented to you, rather than breaking them down into simpler, easy-to-digest language as you would when taking notes longhand. Working in a notebook also removes distraction from you – you’ll be less likely to flip between internet browser windows during your lesson, leading to more effective online study.
Listen to Music as You Study
Of course, you won’t be able to listen to music while you’re in the middle of an online lecture, but music can be a fantastic aid to your study outside of class. And while you might think of it as a distraction, the correct music can actually be a motivating factor to your studies. Research has in fact shown that the right genre of music can lead to more productive learning – classical music is well-known for this, as it is void of distracting lyrics. Many people think that classical music also enhances brain activity while at the same time relieving stress.
Music from video games is also a great option for studying, as it has been specifically composed to enhance the game experience, not hindrance it. If you play video games in your spare time, you’ll notice that background music is always there but doesn’t draw you away from your objective while in game – sometimes it actually encourages you to move forward.
Spotify also has plenty of playlists focused on mood, study, calming the mind, and much more.
If you’re finding that your mind wanders throughout your study day, a timer can be just the thing to keep you focused on your online learning. The knowledge that you are being timed in what you’re doing is actually an effective tool that can boost productivity, rather than glancing at a clock every so often and giving yourself a rough estimate of how much time you’ve spent on a topic. You can simply use the timer on your smartphone to keep track of your learning sessions, or you can make use of online tools such as Toggl and Clockify.
By working through to an alarm, you can really encourage yourself to power through your online study.
At the end of the day, it’s important to remember that being constantly productive throughout your studies may not always be possible – there are some distractions at home, such as children and pets, that cannot always be avoided. However, using the dedicated time that you can find will be much more beneficial to your studies than forcing yourself to sit in a chair for hours on end while feeling frustrated.
For more study tips and advice, be sure to peruse our other articles.