Tips for Making the Most of Online Courses

While online courses were already a primary choice for many types of education, in the era of COVID-19, they are becoming the only option for many students. Whether you’re taking an online defensive driving or driver’s ed class, make the best use of your time and ability to retain information by following these tips for taking online classes.

A Growing Industry

In 2017, 6.6 million people enrolled in some form of distance learning at a degree-granting postsecondary institution. Of those, 13.3% were enrolled exclusively in online courses.

The coronavirus is taking even more students out of the classroom, as many colleges and universities are not certain when they are going to reopen. Currently, 11% of high school seniors have decided to defer enrolling in college in the fall of 2020. Of those who did not decide on a college, 34% said the pandemic was influencing their choices.

Online classes offer more than just convenience, although that is a major factor. Students can attend classes at good schools thousands of miles from home, on their own schedule. Plus, online education is usually less expensive than tuition at traditional brick-and-mortar schools.

1. Avoid Digital Distractions

It happens to everyone. You start out searching the Internet for specific information, and pretty soon you are surfing the web and time has flown by. You do not want that to happen while studying, so learning to avoid digital distractions is critical.

Stay focused on your studies and do not multitask. Answer your texts and emails prior to beginning your studies, and stay off social media until your work for the day is done. Numerous studies have found that multitasking can decrease learning and academic performance.

When studying, put your phone on Do Not Disturb mode so the sounds of texts and calls won’t intrude on your time. If you are in a public space when studying, use headphones to keep out the noise.

Consider setting a timer so that you commit to studying for a certain amount of time during a particular session.

2. Create a Study Space

Carve out a special, quiet place to study so you can avoid distractions in your own environment. If you share your home with others, let them know this is where you go to learn online so they respect your privacy when studying. Creating a routine is key to successful studying online.

Your study space should have a high-speed Internet connection available. If you do not have high-speed Internet at home, consider making your study space a local coffee shop or similar facility. Taking courses with less than stellar Internet service can lead to frustration.

3. Prepare Your Space

Remove your phone, gaming console, and other potential distractions and turn off the TV. Your space should prove as quiet as possible. That does not mean you can’t listen to music while studying, as long as you can focus on the class and not the tunes. Classical music, even if not a personal favorite, is ideal for relaxing people and helping them concentrate on studies.

Have any necessary books, software, or any other materials on hand as you begin studying.

4. Take Short Breaks

Determine how much time you plan to devote to studying for the course beforehand. For example, if you decide to work on an online course for 45 minutes, take short breaks at the 15- and 30-minute marks to revitalize your mind. Short is just that — maybe a trip to the bathroom or to the kitchen to get a drink. With a long break, there is always the chance you will get too distracted and not complete that day’s studying.

5. Leverage Your Online Network

Sometimes, online learning seems like a vacuum as opposed to face-to-face teaching, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Teachers want students to participate in discussion forums and ask questions. If you are having problems with some subjects, let the instructor know so you do not fall behind. Create virtual study groups with classmates to help digest the material.

6. Mobile Apps

Using a mobile app can improve your comprehension of the coursework and help you do well on your final exam. They permit you to engage in interactive learning sessions. As an example, Aceable allows you to take our entire driver’s ed course via our mobile app.

Every person learns in his or her own way. Make the most of these tips, and ace your exams.