Posted by ICON School on Dec 7, 2021 3:07:19 PM

female middle school online student studying for class

Online schools have made getting an education easier, especially for those who cannot physically attend in-person classes. With the many advancements in technology, students of all ages have the flexibility to take the courses on their schedule, working around family, work, and other commitments.

In addition to having access to classes on a flexible schedule, there are many more benefits to online learning; however, many students also face several challenges. Continue reading to learn some strategies for success during your online learning experience. 

1. Treat it Like an In-Person Course

One of the very best strategies you can use to approach your online education is to treat it just like you would an in-person class. Watch class videos and complete all coursework promptly, rather than waiting until the last minute. Pay close attention to deadlines and follow the syllabus closely—you don't have the in-person structure that provides these kinds of reminders, so you have to take responsibility for that yourself. Additionally, interacting and participating in as many course-related activities can be very beneficial and help boost your learning experience. 

For many students, the appeal of online coursework is the ability to do the work on their own timeline, and this tip doesn't need to detract from the very real circumstances that prevent some from taking in-person courses. But, this is still a good strategy to follow. You can still get work done sooner rather than later, still watch videos or participate promptly, and still get assignments done well ahead of deadlines. 

2. Create a Dedicated Study Space & Time

Anyone working from home can tell you they are more productive when they have a designated office and workspace. The same holds true for students learning at home. Your study space area should be free of distractions and have everything you need to study and complete coursework. Then, when you are done with schoolwork, you can walk away until the next day. Having a separate space that you use every day only for schoolwork can help you tune in for work each day. 

It's a good idea to have specific markers for study time—dedicated space is one of those markers. But also try small habits, rituals, or routines that you do before you get to work, much like you would when preparing for a day of in-person classes. For example, you could change out of your pajamas, wash your face, and light a scented candle before you start your schoolwork. Define your space and time between class and the rest of your life. 

3. Eliminate Distractions

In addition to creating a designated study space, get rid of distractions, including everything from social media to movies and new video games to others in the home. This can be more challenging for some, but the more you can eliminate those distractions, the more you can focus on your studies. 

Some students find that using apps that limit their screen time (such as those built into smartphones or those you add by installing a browser extension) are helpful to employ during study time. You can also give yourself regular breaks to check in on messages or social media—strategically setting times you "allow" yourself distractions can help them be less tempting (plus, it acts like a reward for your hard work!)

4. Determine Your Learning Style

Everyone learns differently. Some learn better by reading, others by watching and listening to videos. Determine which method works best for you and focus your online learning to use the one you feel will help you succeed. But, you should also be flexible in how you learn, because it won't always be an option to learn in the style that works best for you. 

Sometimes online classes are set up in a way that works better for some learning styles and less well for others. You may have to find ways to adapt to learn in those instances but seek out help from your instructor if you find yourself struggling. 

5. Find a Virtual Study Group

Get to know your classmates and see if there are any virtual study groups. If not, work with other students and create one. Additionally, the school or a school counselor can help get you in contact with other students who have a study group established. Having other people to study with can help keep you accountable, and make the learning experience more enjoyable. 

It's especially important for online students to seek out opportunities to engage with other students, as it can be isolating if you are doing it all on your own. Study groups are a great way to socialize and get help when you need it. Plus, it can often be easier to learn material when you're talking about it with others. 

6. Use All Available Resources

Virtual students have access to the same resources in-person students have, and the course’s teacher hands out most. Make sure to use those resources and take advantage of everything your teacher provides you. If you are missing a resource or struggling with a topic, contact your teacher and see if they might have a resource to share with you. 

One big mistake that students (both in person and online) make is not taking advantage of available resources. They might think the resource isn't meant for them, or they might have incorrect views of what getting help looks like. Checking out whatever student resources are available is an easy way to get a leg up! 

7. Take Notes

Approach note-taking for online classes the same as you would for in-person classes. Take good notes that will help you memorize, study for exams, or help when you're writing a paper. This strategy works well with some of the others we've discussed—ask your teacher for help if you need to fill in gaps in your notes, or share notes with virtual study groups. 

Not taking notes is a mistake many students make, especially when you're sure you'll remember the material! But when it's crunch time at the end of the semester and you're studying for multiple finals, having notes can be a life saver. Plus, note taking is an absolute must for college courses, so get in the habit while you're in high school—future you will thank you. 

8. Believe in Yourself

No matter what courses you are taking online, believe in yourself and the fact that you can do this. Online school can be tough, but with the right strategies (and mindset), you'll have no problem making the grade—especially if you follow the strategies for success that make the most sense for you and your journey. 

If you need help getting started in our fully accredited public school, reach out to the team at ICON today!

ICON School

Written by ICON School

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