Date of Publication: 19 March 2020
If you’ve found yourself studying from home and are looking at how to adapt to your new online education, take a look at our 8 top tips to help you get the most out of your online learning and online tutoring.
1. Adjust your learning
The first thing to acknowledge is that an online education demands a different style of learning as opposed to the traditional classroom environment. You should be aware that you will need to adjust your learning style to ensure you get the most out of any online learning experience by doing things such as:
- Fully commit yourself to join in with digital discussions so you are still actively learning and developing key skills such as debating and listening.
- Be prepared to try new tech – with new online learning platforms and video calling functions, prepare to become adaptable and open to trying new technologies.
- Collaborate with others – whether that’s over instant messenger outside of class/tutoring time, or with online discussions – get involved and you’ll make the most out of your learning experience.
- Be self-disciplined – You will need to ensure that you’re ahead with the class work, pre-reading course materials where you can and ensuring excellent time management to prevent missing classes. All of this will help you to get the most out of your online learning.
2. Clear Distractions
When setting up your home study and/or work space, make sure there is nothing in the background that may distract you or your classmates/co-workers. That includes putting your phone in a separate room or turning it off completely to avoid taking your attention during your online learning.
It’s important to note that you may also need to move your work space throughout the day – perhaps you may need to move as sunlight comes through your window to avoid screen glare. So have a think about this before you are forced to move and re-position halfway through a learning session.
3. Use headphones and a microphone (where possible)
If you have them, make sure you use headphones and a microphone so you can clearly hear your tutor/classmates, as well as deliver clean and clear audio for easy flow of communication.
Even if you don’t have access to this, most laptops do have a reasonably high-spec audio and microphone set already built into them, however having a specific kit will always elevate your sound and audio quality.
4. Make sure your camera is stable
Again, to help avoid distractions during your online learning, make sure your laptop or webcam is sturdy and pointing ahead to avoid any strange angles.
Also, don’t sit too close to your camera either as the audio could muffle if you are sitting close to the microphone on your device.
5. Prevent interruptions
We’ve all seen that BBC News video interview – and we know you certainly don’t want to have the same happen to you.
To avoid this, make sure anyone you live with is aware that you will be doing some online learning from home and to ask them to leave you alone to concentrate. If you can, close a door and stick a sign on the outside of it, making it clear that you cannot be disturbed.
6. Pre-prepare resources
If you have work that you want to share with your tutor or other students during a video lesson, make sure you have them ready and waiting on your desktop with clear file names, and are ideally already open and waiting before you start. This will avoid time-wasting if you need to hunt around your downloads folder and browser tabs.
7. Strong Wi-Fi connection
Before joining an online session, make sure your Wi-Fi session is working and up to scratch. The website; Speed Test will help you to see what sort of internet speeds you’re currently getting, and whether they will be strong enough to support video calls.
There are a few obvious steps too to try and consider to improve your Wi-Fi strength, such as putting your internet box up high on a sideboard, making sure nothing is covering it, and setting up your work space close to where the box is.
If you do have a poor Wi-Fi connection, you may struggle to host a video call, so it’s worth considering if there’s any other locations you could use for your learning session – perhaps a friend or relative’s home?
8. Pre-read material
If possible, review any resources and material that you’ll be studying before your online learning session. This will give you the chance to prepare for any discussions, have questions ready to ask about subject matter that you haven’t quite fully understood, as well as help the new knowledge to be absorbed ever so slightly easier.