Distance Learning: 8 Things To Consider Before Taking Online Classes

By Christian Esteves |  May 26, 2020

With students still at home due to community quarantine, many of us are looking for ways to stay productive. We’ve heard everyone on the Internet flex about foods and workouts but now can be the best time to get back into honing that skill you’ve been trying to make time for. Look into that online class you’ve been wanting to take!

As technology develops, it’s no surprise that we are now moving from traditional learning to online learning. Whether we like it or not, this might just be our “new normal” as we face a global pandemic. We will now have classes, conferences, and even exams mostly done online. However, we’re all different in our learning approach and it might take some trial and error to see which method is most effective, so don’t be afraid to experiment and see what works best for you. Luckily, we’re here to help!

Keep reading for a quick 8-point rundown of how to start your online learning journey!

Make sure you have the basics in place

The first step to taking your education online is to have a stable Internet connection. You don’t necessarily need to have the fastest wifi or data service, as long as you’re able to load up some study material and readings. If you’re able to read this article, then we’re pretty sure you’re good to go!

The next step in setting up is to create your ideal workspace. Unfortunately, because of community quarantine, a lot of establishments have been put on hold and we can’t go to our favorite spots in coffee shops. But here’s the good news: you can recreate your go-to study spot at home! All you need is a desk, a nearby socket, some good lighting, and last but not least, peace and quiet.


Ask yourself: What do I want to learn? Then, prioritize!

Now that you have the basics in place, you’re ready to start…but where? It’s important to identify your learning priorities to have a clear vision of which direction you’re headed. We suggest you do a brain dump and jot down everything you’ve been meaning to learn over the past years. This method is extremely effective in clearing your headspace and in getting rid of that crippling anxiety and pressure of learning everything at once. Essentially, once you’ve created your list, you want to dedicate your energy to the subject you identified in the top spot.


Manage your expectations

Once you have an idea of what you want to learn, you’re able to gauge how you’re going to handle your study sessions. And because online learning is still a relatively new space, you might have to try different e-learning activities to optimize your approach.

Learning online will involve your fair share of self-teaching. One thing to understand is that online classes are just as hard as face to face classes, if not harder. Because not all e-learning materials are interactive, you may not get the luxury of asking questions in real-time or getting a more detailed explanation from your “teacher” – which brings us to the next point: commitment.


Level up your commitment

When studying from the comfort of your own home, you’re faced with countless distractions like your bed, your pets, your online games, you name it. The questions you can ask yourself before you enroll in an online class are:

1. How committed am I to my goal?

2. Can I resist the urge to do what’s more comfortable?

To make that commitment a little easier, you have to alter your environment and minimize distractions. If you find yourself endlessly scrolling through your Facebook and other social media feeds, maybe you can think about putting a limit on your screen time settings or simply place your phone in the next room.


Maximize all free platforms that offer online courses

The internet offers a wide range of educational materials easily accessed with one click on Google. Even your everyday websites like YouTube can be platforms for learning. Locally, Department of Education (DepEd) and Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) have a vast amount of free courses.

Once you’ve exhausted your free resources and have chosen to take the next step of enrolling in an online university, you should determine which program and school fit you best. Some things you would want to ask yourself are:

1. Is this program aligned with my professional goals? 

2. Will this program be beneficial to me in the next three to five years?

3. Is this school accredited and reputable?

4. Are employers keen on graduates of this university?

5. Do I have the resources to enroll in this program?


Manage your time and energy

Create a rough draft of your daily activities and free time. To make managing your time and energy easier, we’ve listed some tips on how to become more efficient and how to achieve flow in your work.

First, to state the obvious, staying organized is crucial. Having an overall system will save you an incredible amount of time and stress. Undoubtedly, if you know where everything should be when you should do a certain task and keep track of where you last left off, studying should feel seamless and less of a chore.

Second, practice single-tasking. Contrary to popular belief, single-tasking can often trump multitasking as it centers on quality over quantity. While doing multiple things at the same time can be seen as efficient, there’s a huge chance of sacrificing effectiveness in the long run. With single-tasking, you can batch similar tasks together, tackle them one by one in a given timeframe. Ultimately, having conscious attention on the work you’re doing entails better focus and thus, better results.

Lastly, get moving and eat healthily. Never underestimate the wonders exercise and proper nutrition can do to your body. Having a consistent fitness routine not only boosts your energy levels but also helps you keep a calm and collected mind.


Join a community!

If you’re a hands-on learner and you find that you learn better with other people, we strongly suggest you find a community that has the same goals as you. It’s best to keep yourself accountable and vice versa. Plus, giving yourself a little dose of friendly competition could push you to become more engaged in learning and more committed to achieving your goals.

Who knows, you also might find a friend who has the exact same study journey with you, and you can learn and grow together. Good luck, and happy learning!

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