Tips for Transitioning to Online Learning

New to online learning? Or do you just need some tips to make the experience go a little smoother? This article is for you! We know you have a lot on your mind, so keep scrolling for some tips on easing your transition to online learning.

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1. Find, or Create, a Study Space

It is super easy to curl up on your couch or lay in bed as you do you work for the day, but scientists caution against this. Research shows that studying in the same space helps you better retain information. Additionally, distinguishing your studying area from your comfortable break place can help you stay focused for longer. Designate a distraction-free zone in your house to help keep you on track. Think somewhere semi-private and quiet!



2. Establish Goals for Each Day

By now, you've probably realized that your daily routine is quite different from when you are at school. It's easier now than ever to fall into a slump of no productivity or to feel overwhelmed by everything you need to accomplish. Try to set a SMART goal, something Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound. For example, "I'm going to complete at least 10 slides for my upcoming ENG 120 project before lunch." Be sure to check back up on your goals & celebrate your accomplishments.



3. Hold Yourself Accountable

Setting goals only works if you find ways to keep yourself accountable to meet them. For some people, a support system is the best way to stay on track. If this is you, try sharing what you are working on with friends and family. As them to help you check in on your progress or share what you have accomplished with them. If you are better at holding yourself personally accountable, try making a list of things to do before taking a break. Or, try creating a "To Do before watching TV list" that way you can take small breaks throughout the day, but not be tempted by a big distraction.



4. Schedule Set Study Time

Building off of having a set study space, having a set study time can be really helpful in structuring your day. Try to establish a realistic routine that you can carry out every day. Scheduling time earlier in the day to watch lectures or complete assignments helps assure that school doesn't fall to the end of your to-do list. Set reminders on your calendar and add important deadlines for added organization.



5. Focus on Just One Task

When you sit down for your study time, make sure to take things one by one. While it is tempting to try to switch things up by flipping in between classes, research shows that multi-tasking makes it harder to learn and grasp concepts. Commit to one course and one assignment before moving on to the next project to complete. It might sound tedious, but it will help you finish faster and learn more.


If you are still hesitant to stop your multi-tasking, this quote from Stanford University shows its importance. Their research uncovered that, “People who are regularly bombarded with several streams of electronic information cannot pay attention, recall information, or switch from one job to another as well as those who complete one task at a time.” So do your best to dedicate yourself to just one task.



6. Take Notes

Sure, you are sitting in the comfort of your home - but that doesn't mean you aren't still in class. Taking notes has been proven to help keep your attention, boost active thinking, and assist with recollection when it comes time for exams. We recommend finding a note taking method that works for you! Whether that is utilizing your class notebooks or finding a virtual note taking app, make sure to keep writing down key points and useful information.



7. Contribute to the Conversation

Though you might not be able to raise your hand in the traditional class sense, engaging with material through questions and dialogue is very important in developing understanding of the material. When you think of a question, consider adding it to your class forums, odds are someone else was wondering the same thing. Use virtual platforms to enhance your understanding and challenge yourself to contribute your thoughts and ideas to the class. Studies show that students are 37% more likely to complete their course if they actively partake in the discussions.



8. Take a Few Breaks

Sure, focusing on school work is important. But so are relaxing and recharging! Studies show that taking a break after learning new material is helpful to maintaining high performance. So, if you have been working on a project for awhile or just stuck on what to do next, consider taking a short walk or catch up with friends. It will help you absorb more information and it's good for your mental well-being.