man at home at desk doing online learning

New to online learning? Here are 3 tips for a smooth transition

Navigating online learning can be challenging. However, with the right tools, it doesn’t have to be. Check out our three tips for a smooth transition!

As COVID-19 induced nationwide lockdowns this past spring, many schools were forced to adopt last-minute online formats. Those abrupt changes felt chaotic to many. Now, as a new school year begins with many institutions remaining online or using a hybrid learning format, learners have the chance to better prepare themselves.

Whether your online learning environment is temporary due to the pandemic or you’re beginning a fully-online program, the start of this school year is a chance to take advantage of the foresight we now have and to set yourself up for online success.

Here are some tips to help you make a smooth transition and get the most out of your online learning experience.

 

3 tips to help you learn online

Making the transition to online learning can seem daunting, but it doesn’t have to be a source of anxiety. Consider integrating some of these suggestions into your daily learning routine.

1. Set up a workspace

Learning online is pretty similar to working from home. Since your school work is taking place outside a traditional classroom or office setting, it’s important to set up your space in a way that’s conducive to productivity. Setting aside a specific area for work within your home helps your brain simulate the transition between work and personal life that is ordinarily afforded by traveling to and from traditional spaces. This helps you set mental boundaries and differentiate when it’s time to work vs. when it’s time to rest.

Online learning is great because it means you can learn from any place. However, not every place is great for learning. Try to avoid working in cozy places like your bed or couch. Instead, designate a space in your home where you’ll be comfortable taking notes, watching or listening to lectures, and working on assignments. Make sure you have all the supplies you need set up in your chosen space ahead of time to minimize disruptions to your workday so you can stay focused on your studies for as long as necessary.

2. Find out what type of learner you are

It’s never too late to figure out what style of learning is going to help you best retain information. Being able to tailor certain parts of your educational experience to your personal learning style is a unique benefit to learning-from-home models, so take advantage of this unconventional environment to play to your strengths in ways you might not get from traditional settings.

There are several different types of learners. Which one of these sounds like you?

  • Visual — Using graphics, images, and sight. You might be a visual learner if looking at a visual representation of data or information is the best way for you to learn something new or understand challenging concepts.
  • Auditory — Digesting and recalling information through listening and speaking. Some find repetition and mnemonic devices useful.
  • Read and write — We recognize this type of learner as a note-taker or reader. These types of learners use reading and writing as a way to further make sense of new information.
  • Kinesthetic — This type of learning is all about moving. Great examples of kinesthetic learners are activities that involve touching and experimenting.

If you don’t see yourself in these examples, don’t be discouraged! Keep up the research. We’re all individuals with our own processes and needs, and plenty of resources are out there to help you best understand yours. Try taking a test from Education Planner or how-to-study.com to get a little more insight: The CliftonStrengths Test from Gallup can also help you better understand your overall strengths in general and how they can be most effectively applied to educational and professional spaces.

Gaining increased understanding of your learning style, needs, and strengths is not only beneficial to increasing your quality of learning in online environments, but can also be help you in the long run for any future learning or professional environments you hope to enter.

3. Be an active participant in your class

It might seem easy to become passive in your learning experience when you’re not getting as much face-to-face time with instructors, faculty, and classmates, but don’t let yourself fall into this trap. Communication in online learning environments remains important as ever, if not even more so due to the lack of in-person interaction. Even though you’re not in a classroom, it’s still vital that you continue to ask questions and seek guidance, advice, or general conversation wherever necessary to ensure you’re not falling behind.

Take advantage of the resources offered by your online learning environments to maintain communication. Never hesitate to e-mail your professor with any questions. Even though you might not get to meet them in person, they likely still want to provide you with all the support and clarification you need to succeed. An open dialogue is a great way to maintain a professional relationship with your colleagues while learning remotely.

In the same vein, maintain participation in class discussions. Actively make use of designated message boards and chat rooms. Ask questions, share your thoughts, and reach out to your classmates. Don’t be afraid to speak up! It might seem a bit uncomfortable at first, but remember that everyone is in the same situation. In fact, students who have more difficulties figuring out how to reach out might welcome your initiative.

As with any class, the more effort you put in, the more you’ll get out. You owe it to yourself to ensure you’re still getting the most you possibly can from your online classes.

Overall, remember that the more you treat your online course like you’re learning in a traditional classroom, the easier your transition will be. Additionally, making moves to customize your online learning experience will help ensure you reap the full benefits of remote learning. Finally, don’t be afraid to reach out to your peers or instructors to establish frequent communication and keep yourself on track for success in your online learning environment.


Interested in learning about education and community solutions through an online program? Check out the wide selection of online courses offered at Pacific Oaks today!

You can find more of our insights on real issues that affect people every day in our digital magazine, Voices!

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