Online learning offers many advantages over in-person learning, including flexibility and convenience. You can complete your schoolwork from where and when you choose, and you don’t have to worry about the commute to campus. But if you’ve never taken an online course or you consider yourself a hands-on learner, you might find the format a bit challenging.
1. Tech Knowledge in Online Learning
Online classes rely heavily on the use of technology. You’ll need a computer, internet access, and the software you need to participate in your virtual class and complete your work. If you’re not tech savvy, you might be frightened by online learning, but the truth is online learning platforms are extremely user-friendly and your school will offer tech support if you get stuck.
Check with your school’s IT department before your classes begin to ensure you have all the necessary technical requirements, such as high-speed Internet, compatible browsers, and access to your student email account. Attend your online orientation. Once you have access to your web courses, familiarize yourself with the discussion forum, the webmail portal, and the other features it has to offer. You can even reach out to your instructor or the IT team for extra help if you need to.
2. Making Classroom Connections in Online Learning
If you were one of those people who couldn’t imagine attending class through a computer screen, that notion likely changed during the pandemic. Everyone was doing it! But that doesn’t mean it isn’t an adjustment. How do you connect with instructors and peers when you don’t ever see them in-person?
Be yourself. Be active. Interact.
You can’t connect if you don’t participate. Whether it’s a live video feed, an online forum, chat, or email, get active. Bring your best self to your virtual class, making sure to answer questions and assignments fully, and to the best of your abilities. When you’re asked to respond to a classmate’s answer, be respectful and thorough. You can also reach out off class time. Whether you want to connect to form a study group or you’ve discovered one of your coursemates lives down the street, you can make live connections from an online course. And don’t forget your instructors. Especially if you have questions about course material, reach out sooner rather than later. You don’t want to fall behind.
3. Online Learning Time Management
Another challenge to eLearning is that because you may not have a set class time, it’s easy to let assignments slide. Especially when you have other demands on your life, like family and a job, it might be easy to push your classes to the bottom on the priority list. Don’t.
Create a distraction-free zone in your home where you can work. Set regular days and times to attend virtual class and complete assignments. Use course syllabi to build out a calendar of upcoming tasks and be sure to give yourself a realistic amount of time to complete them. When you have a big assignment ahead of you, break it down into smaller goals.
4. Staying Motivated When Learning Online
Since your instructor won’t be able to look over your shoulder as you work, and you won’t have a set class time to complete your assignments, you’ll need to motivate yourself to stay on track. How can you do that? First, think of why you’re attending an online program in the first place. Whether it’s to find a new career, advance to a better position, or make your family proud, keep the end goal in mind. Doing it for your family? Tape a picture of them to your laptop. Getting ready for a new career? Find images of the job and pin them in your study space.
You’ll also want to develop some good habits to stay motivated. Log onto your learning platform every day so you don’t miss any assignments or announcements. Good study habits keep you in a student mindset and help you stay up with your work and do well. And when you do well, whether on an assignment, project, or a test, celebrate your small victories. Small wins can keep you motivated and help you achieve the big win of completing your online program.
5. Writing in Online Programs
While you might Zoom or Skype with peers, tutors, and instructors for some help, the majority of your online communication will be in writing. If writing is not one of your strongest skills, take the time to proofread your work for grammar or spelling errors before you post it or send it out. If you really struggle with writing, look for a school that has a writing center or offers tutoring in this area. Over time, you’ll strengthen your skills through practice and repetition.
The challenges of online learning can easily be overcome and are greatly outweighed by the benefits. if you’re ready to begin your online education, contact Charter College today. We offer online programs in Business, Health Care, Information Technology, and some Trades. Fill out the form to learn more.