Tips for Taking Online Classes: 10 Strategies for Success

Today we’re going to look at ten online learning tips for student success. At the end of this article you’ll be able to put these into practice and get a massive boost to your chances of success in online education.

It’s always nice to figure out what works best, and it’s even nicer if you can share that with other people to help them improve their learning experience too.

For all their benefits, however, online classes also offer some unique challenges compared to traditional, in-person classes. Without a plan for managing these challenges, your performance could suffer.

Below, I’ll explore some of the common challenges that online learners face, along with how to overcome them.

Note: This article focuses on online college classes, but there are lessons you can apply to any kind of distance learning.

The best thing about these tips is that they’re all based on research. I don’t want it to sound like I’m bragging when I say this but, unlike other people in education, the advice I give doesn’t come from my own experience – it comes from leading educational researchers and psychologists. You can be confident that if it’s here then we know that there’s a lot of evidence to suggest you should do it!?

1: Use positive learning language

It’s pretty simple: using positive language makes you more successful. One study showed that students who received feedback such as “This is an interesting paper” or “You make some good observations here” were rated as having higher writing ability than those whose feedback included words such as “This is not very good” or “You really don’t have much to say in this paper.”  It may seem like a small difference but it can have a significant impact.

2: Set up an effective system for studying

Setting up a simple study plan at the beginning of each term will help you to be more successful.

Make sure you know what your deadlines are and when your exams are, then set out when you’ll meet with your teachers or tutors to discuss course material and plan how long you’ll spend studying each week.

If these things aren’t clear at the beginning of term, ask for clarity from your teachers because they should give you all the information you need about important dates and meeting times.

3: Make use of social media

It’s not exactly the most traditional way to study but it can be really useful if you know what you’re doing. Services like Twitter and Facebook allow users to get all sorts of information on demand that will help them with their studies.

Both of these services are filled with people offering advice on exam questions, past papers and tips for writing essays.  Don’t just ask your friends either, there are lots of very knowledgeable people who offer guidance online every day about academic issues affecting students.

4: Get enough sleep

Sleep is rarely considered when planning how students will prepare for success in education but it had a surprising impact on performance in one study . Students who got 7 hours sleep had higher grades than those who got more, less or even no sleep at all.

Try to get at least 8 hours of sleep per night and you’ll see an improvement in how alert you are throughout the day, which will make studying more effective.

5: Write your notes on paper not a computer

According to one study , students that wrote their work down by hand rather than typing it into a computer had “a clear benefit” over those who used touch-typing methods. If you’re finding yourself wondering why this is then just believe me when I say that studies have provided compelling evidence to suggest writing by hand helps memory .

It’s probably something about how things written by hand come through our senses in slightly different ways than what we see on screen. Either way, printing out lecture notes and making notes by hand will really help your memory.

6: Set goals that you can achieve

Setting goals is an essential part of learning, but if your goal is too hard then it will be counterproductive to your success. Studies have shown once again that setting goals helps performance so long as they’re not unreachable. According to one study , students who received feedback on their progress toward meeting a goal were more likely to succeed than those who weren’t given any feedback at all. Make sure you set clear goals for yourself and know what steps you need to take to achieve them.

7: Get enough exercise

If there’s one thing this article has taught me it’s that the little things matter when it comes to studying successfully. Getting extra exercise can help you to focus, retain information and even think more creatively according to various studies . If this is news to you then take it from me that regular exercise has lots of benefits so try to get at least half an hour of physical activity each day if possible.   And don’t just sit there thinking about extra-curricular activities – research shows that walking or biking instead of using public transport can also improve your ability to recall memories. Your brain needs oxygen in order for the memory parts to function properly so remember that getting enough exercise will give your brain a boost too.

8: Don’t let stress hold you back

There are numerous studies showing the impact stress has on students’ success . The argument for this one is simple – exams, deadlines and other stressful parts of studying are only temporary so it makes sense that having to worry about them won’t help. Try to use the practical techniques you’ve learned throughout this article in order to reduce your stress levels and stay focused .

9: Reflect on your progress

Don’t allow yourself to become a passive participant in the success or failure of all your hard work. Studies have shown time and time again that making plans for future goals helps people stick with goals they set for themselves . Just thinking about why something might be important can help motivate you to complete tasks related to it. From my experience, awareness really is key when trying for academic success.

10: Have fun!

If there’s one thing I wish someone had told me when I was a student it’s that studying doesn’t have to be hard. One study of students found that a positive approach toward a new task improved the efficiency with which people met goals . So relax and enjoy learning new things – you’ll find it much easier if you embrace the situation.

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