Whether or not you intended to take online classes, you may find yourself enrolling in an online program thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic. And if you’re never taken courses in a virtual format before, you might be worried about what to expect. But don’t sweat it. Online learning has a lot of benefits and with a little bit of planning and goal setting, you can easily set yourself up for success.
1. Set an Online Learning Schedule
Before your classes officially start, take some time to make your own school schedule. Use a calendar, planner, or scheduling app as a tool to track your time. For example, if you work three days a week, schedule your “class time” during the remaining two days, and schedule evening study sessions for after work.
2. Create Study Goals for Your Online Classes
Once you receive your course syllabus or schedule, you’ll know what assignments will be due each week. This will enable you to set daily or weekly goals for what you’d like to accomplish during each study session. It will also help you break down the larger assignments into less overwhelming tasks.
3. Designate a Study Space
Online classes can be fun—after all, you can complete them in your pajamas! But it’s possible to have a little too much fun when you study at home. Your phone, your TV, and even your family can distract you from your schoolwork, so take the time to create a designated space where you can study. This could be the kitchen table, a desk, or even your bedroom—but avoid the temptation to lie in bed. Just make sure your space is as quiet and distraction-free as possible.
4. Engage with Your Peers
Just because you’re not in the same actual classroom, doesn’t mean you can’t connect with students in your virtual classroom. Connect with your peers through your classroom portal or an online chat. Organize an online study group or join one that’s already in progress. You could even start a Facebook group for your class or create an online discussion board. Everyone will benefit, both scholastically and socially.
5. Connect with Your Online Instructors
It’s just as important to build good relationships with your instructors. Don’t hesitate to reach out to them if you have questions about the material or need more clarification about a class policy. Ask your instructors for feedback on your work and what they see as your strengths and weaknesses. This will help you grow as a student and shows that your instructor that you’re serious about your schoolwork and your future career. Remember that your instructors are also professionals, so ask them about their experience in the industry and what they’ve learned over the course of their careers.
6. Take Study Breaks
It’s important to study, but it’s also important to rest. Be sure to incorporate regular study breaks into your schedule and use that time to reward yourself for hitting those daily goals you set. Read a book, take a walk, watch a little TV, and then get back to work. You’ll feel refreshed and more focused with a little break than if you just power through hour-upon-hour. You’re in it for the long haul, so plan accordingly. This is a marathon, not a sprint!
At Porter and Chester Institute in Connecticut and Massachusetts, we want to help you succeed whether you learn in the classroom or in an online environment. We offer career training programs in Automotive, Computers, Cosmetology, Healthcare, and Trades. Fill out the form to learn more.