By now, most of us have become used to a large chunk of our daily routines and actions taking place in front of our monitors and screens. But being used to something doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re making the most use out of it.
We know that many students feel as though they aren’t making the most out of remote learning or that it isn’t as useful for them as physical classes were, and we completely understand why it can feel that way. So to help make the most out of remote learning and feel as though you are being your best productive self, we have put together these 6 tips:
Try to Maintain a Routine – Stay Energised
Before we get started on anything else, it’s vital to set up a daily routine that works for you and prepares you for the day. Make sure that a good breakfast is one of the first things you incorporate into a routine. Swapping out breakfast for an extra 20 minutes of sleep before class can be tempting but don’t fall into that trap.
Whether you have a hearty bowl of cereal, a full array of breakfast items, or just some fruit, you need something to give you energy for the start of your day. If you know you have a full day ahead and won’t have time to make lunch, use this time to also prepare some snacks and a quick sandwich (or similar) that you can eat in-between classes or whilst studying.
Take Notes for Active Learning – Stay Engaged
Zoom lectures for many students seem to be more tedious or dull compared to their physical equivalent and even if there is a genuine desire to listen and learn at the beginning, this can fall short as time goes on if you don’t feel engaged. For many students, it may be tempting to just sit at your desk with your camera off and mic muted, and scroll through your phone or even take a nap.
The best way to avoid this is to make yourself engage with the classes and lectures. Write notes to force yourself to listen and pick out the most relevant or interesting parts. This will not only help you to engage with the content, but also help you with revision later. Many students like to write rough points during the lecture and then a neater or more aesthetically pleasing version later, which both consolidates knowledge and makes you want to go over them at a later point.
Create an Online Study Group – Stay connected
One of the things that can make remote learning seem more draining is the lack of interaction between peers and social studying spaces. A way to remedy this is to try and create online study groups.
Make use of free video calling platforms like Zoom or Skype to organise study sessions between classmates and revise together or bounce ideas off each other, or even just make time to discuss your day. The chances are most of you are feeling the same sense of isolation, and all it takes is for one person to suggest the idea that others can jump onto.
Isolate Your Study Space Where You Can – Stay Motivated
Even if many of us are working and studying in our bedrooms whilst at home, it is vital to have space for studying that is separate to the space in which you relax and unwind. Whether you have a desk that you use for studying, a seat at the kitchen table, or even just a comfortable chair in the corner, keep this space for that purpose only.
Avoid studying in bed or somewhere else that you frequently relax so that you know that when you are in that study space you are ready to work and be productive. It also helps to get out of pyjamas and be dressed in whatever you would wear to a physical class. This will help to put you in the right mindset, as well as feel less like a zombie.
Keep your Study Space Free of Distractions – Stay Focused
As we mentioned before, it may be tempting to take out your phone and scroll through social media or try to multitask with another task when listening to a lecture but this will only hinder your learning. Try to keep your phone and any other distractions away whilst you are in your designated study space so that you can stay focused on your task without any temptations staring at you.
Some students also find it useful to plan out the tasks they need to do for the day so they know how to utilise their time best. This can be good for being able to focus on one thing at a time without being distracted or worried by the other things you have to do. If you know you aren’t likely to follow a to-do list, then map out some bullet points or thoughts, and expand on them throughout the day as you get to them, as long as you work through them one at a time.
The Importance of Breaks and Down Time – Stay Sane
As important as engagement, motivation and focus are for successful remote learning, they fall short if you are running yourself ragged and constantly stressed or tired. Make sure you incorporate a mix of shorter and longer breaks into your routine throughout your day, where possible. Take a couple of minutes to recharge and mentally prepare yourself for the next class or assignment you need to work on.
When studying at home there is no commute or feeling of almost being home to verify that you are done with your day but this is why it is important, after you finish your classes for the day, to move out of your study space and do an activity that relaxes you. Try to keep this different to anything you do during your breaks, to help maintain a routine and let your brain know that it is done with most of the intense work for the day and can wind down for the rest of it.
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