Here are some tips and suggestions that can help to make your study time effective, help you remember more of what you’re learning, and ensure you succeed as an online student.
1. Note Taking – it’s important that while you study you take notes of key learning points for any questions that you want to follow-up with your tutor or through your own research. You can use a paper exercise book to do this, or there are a number of digital tools that can help. ‘Evernote’ is a useful free notebook that you can use on any digital device. It also has a number of advantages over paper notebooks. You can add images to it using your camera. You can also add audio recordings to your notes, so if you prefer to speak your notes rather than writing them, this could be useful for you. ‘Evernote’ works in the web browser or you can download a free app for your phone or tablet.
2. Studying in short bursts – The self-study materials in the main course have been designed to take around five to 10 minutes each, so you don’t have to have long periods of time to study. You can do some tasks between classes, or whenever you take a break from your regular studies. It’s better to set aside regular short periods of time for study each day, than to do all of the activities at one time. Spreading the learning over a longer period can make your study time and retention more effective.
3. Time Management – one of the most common reasons why online learners fail or give up is because they don’t manage their time. They delay doing things and leave everything until the last minute, and then realize there is too much work to do. You can avoid this by making sure you know how much time you need for each task, and that you schedule regular time when you will complete the tasks and activities.
4. Regular review – one of the most powerful keys to remembering information is to regularly review what you’ve learned. Scheduling time to review notes or work through the activities and tasks a second time can really help to embed the learning and ensure that you remember and use what you’ve learned.
5. Calendar alerts – you can use the calendar on your laptop or phone and set up alerts to ensure that you make specific times to study and review the various tasks and activities on the course. You can also add alerts to make sure that you don’t miss the live group classes.
6. Suitable space – make sure you have a suitable study space that is quiet and free from distractions. This is especially important for the live group classes. Tell people that you’ll be studying and that you don’t want to be disturbed. Prepare the space before you start and make sure you have a glass of water in case you get thirsty.
7. Discuss and share – talking to someone about and sharing what you’re studying can really help to deepen your learning. Talk to a friend a parent a teacher or anyone who you think may be interested. See what they think and get their opinion about what you’ve learned. Try to explain some of the skills and concepts and see if they can understand them. Getting different views of opinions about your studies can help these seedlings in a much broader context.
8. Further research – try to follow up on any aspect of the course you find interesting or confusing. There is a wealth of information online. Doing a quick search on any of the topics we study on our courses can usually produce a good selection of texts, articles, and videos that can give you more information and another perspective. Remember, though, to consider the credibility of the source not all information you find online is reliable.
9. Phones and mobile devices – your mobile phone or tablet can be a really useful tool to enhance your learning. You can use it to take voice, text or even video notes, as well as using it as a research tool to find additional reading, listening or viewing. It can also be a disruptive distraction . Be sure that you control your device rather than letting it control you. Be sure to meet the sound during live classes, turn off notifications during study time. You could also turn it over so that the screen is facedown. This will stop any messages or alerts from distracting you and taking your attention away from what you’re studying. All of those messages will still be there when you’ve finished.
10. Motivational breaks – you can use your device as a motivational reward. Allow yourself some social media time as a reward each time you finish a task or activity. Make sure you decide how much time you’ll give yourself as a reward. You could make it 5 minutes for completing a self-study task and 10 minutes for a longer task.