Top Tips For Transitioning to Online Learning
We’re obviously big fans of online learning, but, for those who are used to a traditional classroom environment, it can be quite an adjustment even in the best of times. Making that adjustment during a global pandemic, however, can seem very overwhelming and complex if you’re not sure where to start. Luckily, we’re here to tell you that online learning is so much more than just a backup solution – and making the transition to online learning doesn’t have to be scary and difficult. It’s an incredible opportunity to connect with the material in a whole new way, deepen your understanding and recall, and to learn on your own terms.
Our Top 5 Tips For Transitioning to Online Learning
1. Buy In
This may not be your top choice, but it is the situation we’re in – so let’s get on board! It might help you to know that there are some major advantages to online learning over learning in a traditional setting. Online learning lets you move at your own pace so you could end up getting ahead in your course of study. The ability to move at your own speed and pace yourself means you get to take the time you want with the material, increasing comprehension.
Are you a night owl? Early bird? When you’re learning online, you have more control over when and where you learn and can customize your schedule to what works best for you.
Once you’re comfortable with online learning, you might find yourself seeking out more opportunities to learn online, many of which are offered by prestigious institutions at no cost to you and can have a significant impact on your skills and training.
2. Stay Social
From study groups to office hours, there’s a social element to learning that, at first, might not seem like you could replicate it online. Good news: you can!
Many online courses include elements like online discussion boards and gamification elements that give you the opportunity to interact with other learners and just plain have fun together. This boosts engagement and increases your retention of the material.
Look for ways to interact with other learners in your classroom whether it’s built-in social tech like a chatroom or something you create yourself or by starting a group text or a unique hashtag to use together when discussing the coursework.
3. Get Comfortable
We don’t just mean that you can learn while wearing your pajamas. Learning online gives you the ability to learn in your own way, on your own terms. Learning online means you can eliminate the formality of the classroom experience.
Sit down and think about when you feel the most motivated and energized about learning and try to replicate that experience for yourself. Some ideas:
- Set up a study area that you love (it can even be outside!)
- Have a snack or beverage you enjoy during class without worrying about distracting anyone
- Unless you have a set time for a live lecture, pick a time of day that works for you. If you do your best work in the morning or late at night, go for it!
- Take your time with the material – you’re not holding anyone else up, so if you want to watch a complex piece of a lecture over again, you can!
4. Adjust Expectations
Online learning feels different than classroom learning…because it is. Especially if your intention was to be learning in-person, this can be a huge shift and if you’re shooting to replicate that exact experience or aim for perfection, you might feel disappointed. So ditch the “how” and focus on the “what.” What are your objectives? What are your requirements? Once you know, you can get laser-focused on achieving them.
Once you adjust your expectations, however, you might find you feel more empowered and in control of the learning experience. Take a step back and review the course material, syllabus and timeline. Figure out the approach you want to use to completing your coursework. Now that you’re in control do you want to spend more time up front and be done sooner? Or do you want to pick away at it over a few months? What can you do with the time you’ll save that might have been otherwise spent on travel or commute time?
Yes, things are different, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be better.
5. Communicate Early And Often
If you’ve shifted quickly from in-person to online learning, it’s likely your educator has as well. Get very clear on how your instructor or administrator wants to be contacted and take advantage of any opportunities they provide for one-on-one instruction, video calls, digital office hours and more. They’re learning and adapting, too, so they understand.
One area where this is important is accessibility. There are so many ways within our existing technology to make the interface work harder for you and solve for audio and visual challenges. This is particularly important if you’re coming to eLearning later in your career, as every generation learns differently and has different preferences when it comes to receiving content digitally.
If you need added support or don’t have access to the same technology or high speed internet that you did previously, it’s important that you let your instructor know, so that they can help you come up with solutions to ensure you still get the experience you deserve.
This is Your Education, Make it Work For You
Online learning can be an empowering experience that deepens your comprehension and leads to a boost of the confidence that comes with mastering skills. Instead of focusing on the loss of your in-person experience, embrace this as a challenge and an opportunity to grow, deepen your knowledge and skills and come out on top. This is one area where we can confidently say: you can do this. We’re here to help.