Over the past year, 97% of students studying for a bachelor’s degree ended up in some form of online and remote learning. That’s a lot! It has been a rollercoaster of a year, and remote learning has certainly been a huge part of that. At times, it has been challenging, presenting completely different ways of learning from what students are used to.
But, luckily for you, you’re not alone in this and we have come up with nine of our best tips to help you survive remote learning. So, let’s dive in!
1. Work Out How You Best Study
Everyone studies differently—what works for you might not work for your friends and vice versa. Consider whether you learn through watching and observing (visual learner), listening and talking it through (auditory learner), doing and practising things (kinesthetic learner), or writing and copying (reading/writing learner).
You could easily be a mix of one or more of these styles and, by recognizing that, you can start to work out what techniques and strategies will be most effective. It might be listening to podcasts, debating with friends, or watching educational videos explaining it. If you’re not sure what sort of learner you are, try out some different styles of learning and see which you prefer! There is no right or wrong way to study, only ways that work better or worse for you.
2. Create a Space
It is important to create a space to work, either by clearing a desk space or room so that you can focus there. Likewise, if you’re using a laptop or computer, make sure you have space for your work and back it up regularly using robust cloud computing infrastructure. A clean space dedicated to remote learning can make a massive difference to your studies and mindset.
Remove as many distractions as possible and talk to those you live with to avoid being disturbed whilst you are working. By being upfront about this before you start, you can avoid interruptions as well as disagreements later on.
Don’t forget to consider the things you will need in that space, such as fast internet from high-speed internet providers if you are regularly on video calls or downloading online material.
This is a big one! When learning in person, you often have a schedule of classes at certain times, allowing you to build a routine around what times are for studying, how your day starts, and what time is for relaxing. So, it makes sense to copy this into your remote learning plan.
Create a timetable of what you will be studying throughout the day, when you plan to take breaks, and other commitments you have. There are loads of free educational apps available to help with this, in many different ways.
If you’re not a fan of planning, you can still create a schedule that allows more freedom, like making a list of what you want to achieve in the day, or what deadlines are coming up, so you can still make sure you have time to do the work before then.
4. Set Goals
Goals can motivate us and give us a sense of achievement when we complete them. Whilst learning remotely, it is important to create our own goals.
There are plenty of resources available online about how to create SMART goals, making sure they are achievable and realistic, whilst still being a challenge. These goals can be anything from individual subject goals, to overall academic goals. Having a variety again helps with motivation and will be different from person to person.
With the right strategies, you can create an effective and productive learning environment, even remotely. Check out this infographic to learn more.
5. Find Out What Resources Are Available
Your school or academic institution may have both online and in-person resources available for students to make use of, so it’s worth researching what is out there to help you. Many higher education institutes have online access to libraries and journals for free, along with mental health and pastoral services. Some schools have online lectures and webinars that can be recorded and watched back at a later date.
With education moving online, there are a lot of resources available from other educational institutes that you can use for free, covering a range of subject areas. You don’t know what you might find until you look!
6. Surround Yourself with Other People
Your learning might be remote, but you don’t have to do it alone. Find other people on the same course to study, discuss topics, and work with. Take inspiration from how they learn remotely and check in with one another, both to be accountable and to look out for each other. Creating a group chat, emailing one another, or collaborating through unified communication systems can help provide a quick and easy way of communicating. Similarly, you can share documents and resources easily using cloud-based integrated technology, allowing you to work on the same project simultaneously. Remote learning can be tough, and it’s important to talk about it when you are finding it hard. There might be solutions to reduce the stress that others can suggest. Knowing that others also find it tough can be reassuring and allow you to share advice.
7. Look After Your Mental Health
Remote learning can be isolating and difficult on your mind. Some easy ways to look after your mental health is by making sure you have people that you can talk honestly and openly with, alongside physical exercise and meditation. There are many apps and courses to help with meditation or motivating you to exercise and, again, how you look after your mental health is not the same for everyone.
It’s also important to know that if you are feeling low or anxious, it is nothing to be ashamed of and there are mental health services available both within schools and educational institutions, and through your local GP. Many have SIP trunking systems in place, so you can call them via the internet, rather than using a phone, giving a more secure line. It might be daunting, but it is well worth talking to a professional if you are struggling.
8. Ask for Help
Likewise, asking for help is nothing to be ashamed of. It can be easier to ask questions face to face with a tutor and listen to other people’s questions being answered. This can be awkward through online classes, but that does not mean you should not do it. Most tutors welcome emails from students and, for a more in-depth conversation, it’s worth asking if they have time to talk over a call or video meeting.
Similarly, you might find help from friends or a group on your course, especially if they understand something you find tricky. Again, if you need help with your mental health or find things overwhelming, there are services available to support you who would appreciate you getting in touch.
9. Treat Yourself!
Remote learning is hard, and you definitely deserve a treat every now and then! Making sure to allocate time off, away from study, is often forgotten but has great benefits. If you are burned out and stressed from constantly working, it’s only going to make the study harder.
Set time in your plans to make sure you get a decent amount of rest and do things that you enjoy and which take up a little less brainpower. Humans are not made to be productive constantly, and giving yourself rewards and time off can make the time you do spend studying so much more effective.
Time to Try It Out!
We hope these tips help you out. Remote learning is new and challenging, but that doesn’t mean it is impossible. In fact, once you get into the swing of it, you might find it suits you! We wish you all the best with your studies and hope you get the most out of it.
- Did you know that Source Reference won Tech & Learning‘s Award of Excellence for Remote and Blended Learning? Learn more here.
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