9 Study Tips for Online Learning

Mar 25, 2020 ·
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Thanks to modern technology, earning an education is more accessible than ever before. Today, students across the country are taking advantage of the flexibility and convenience that comes with online learning.

Online courses are a temporary solution at Universal Technical Institute (UTI) during the COVID-19 health crisis, and we will be returning to hands-on learning in our classrooms and labs as soon as possible. Most of our students have indicated their desire to continue their education during this time and online classes allow for that, while adhering to current restrictions, mandates and requirements. 

There are many benefits to taking online classes, including the ability to create your own schedule, work on assignments from anywhere and not having to commute to class. However, online learning can also come with its own challenges—so it’s important to take time to prepare and set yourself up for success.

If you’re wondering how to study for online classes, you’ve come to the right place. Here are 9 tips for online classes you can start implementing today:

Be Self-Motivated

When it comes to online learning, motivation is everything. It’s the force that will drive you to succeed! As opposed to a traditional classroom where an instructor would be standing in front of the class, you will have to find the motivation within yourself to make your coursework a priority.

Being self-disciplined is all about having the right mindset. Many online learners have reported that it’s helpful to treat studying like you would a job. Show up on time, listen to instructions, ask questions, manage your time well and work hard. 

While attendance won’t be graded in the way it would for an in-person class, showing up is just as important. Don’t forget to log in and track your attendance, which is posted as an assignment each day for you to complete (you should also receive reminder emails). For in-depth instructions on recording your attendance, download our guide.

Treat your classes the same way you would if you were taking them on campus, because they will require just as much of your time and attention.

Limit Distractions & Social Media Use

Working in an environment that is free of outside noises and distractions is key to succeeding in online classes. This means turning off the TV, putting your phone or any other electronic devices away and distancing yourself from anyone who might distract you.

While it can be tempting to pull up Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook or YouTube, this can easily take your attention away from your studies. Whenever you’re blocking time to work on your courses, log out of your social media accounts and put your computer on do not disturb mode so you won’t be distracted by notifications.

Create a designated study area for yourself. Find a place where you can concentrate, and make your environment enjoyable! Make a cup of coffee or maybe even turn on background music or recordings of ambient sounds (like thunderstorms) if that helps you to focus. It’s all about finding what works best for you.

Stick to a Schedule

While having flexibility in your schedule is one of the advantages to online learning, it’s important to have a set routine whenever possible. This will help you to stay organized and ensure you’re giving yourself enough time to complete your coursework.

Time blocking, which involves dividing your day into blocks of time, can be a very effective method for online learners. Here’s an example of how you might decide to structure your day:

  • 8–9:30am: Access Blackboard Ultra course
  • 9:30–9:45am: Break
  • 9:45–11:15am: Access Blackboard Ultra course
  • 11:15–12pm: Lunch break
  • 12–2pm: Access Blackboard Ultra course

By blocking your time in advance, you won’t have to constantly make choices about what to focus on. At the start of each week, it might be helpful to create a schedule like the one above for each day so you have an idea of what to expect.

In addition to ensuring you dedicate enough time to your courses, structuring your schedule this way will allow you to truly enjoy your time off. Free time is important, too!

Take Breaks to Get a Fresh Perspective

Studies show that taking regular, short breaks can actually help to increase focus, reduce stress levels and allow you to better retain the information you learn. 

Before sitting down to work on a task—whether it’s reviewing a lesson or studying for a quiz, set a timer anywhere from 60 to 90 minutes. During this time, give the task your undivided attention and if a distraction comes to mind, jot it down so you can think about it later. When the timer goes off, take a 5-15 minute break.

During your break, reward yourself with your favorite snack, a short walk outside to get some fresh air, or whatever you choose. This will give your brain a much needed break and allow you to focus more effectively when you return to your studies. Overall, doing this can help you to avoid burnout and increase your productivity! 

Set Goals for Yourself

By setting goals for yourself, you can determine how to manage your time in a way to accomplish them.

Take the time to set big picture goals as well as smaller goals you can accomplish along the way. Start by asking yourself, “Why am I going to school?” If your goal is to become an auto technician, for example, this could be one of your big picture goals.

From there, set smaller milestones you can reach along the way. If your end goal is to become a technician, you will have to have an understanding of different computer software systems used in a shop setting, so passing your service writing course could be one of your goals.

Your goals can be as small as completing an assignment or finishing a class with a particular grade. Accomplishing your smaller goals will eventually lead to your big picture goal, so take the time every now and then to check in with yourself and visualize where you want to be. This can help you to stay motivated and on track.

Utilize Online Resources

At the start of each course, take the time to explore your online learning platform and familiarize yourself with the different resources available to you. Make sure you know where to access important things such as:

  • The class schedule, including important deadlines
  • Course material and how to tune into lessons, if necessary
  • Contact information for the instructor
  • How to access technical support

If you have any questions about your online learning platform, it’s best to ask them upfront rather than waiting until later. This will help you to feel much more confident and at ease as you complete your courses.

Take Notes

Just like in a traditional classroom setting, it’s important to take detailed notes to remember important concepts. The act of taking notes will help you to absorb the information, and you never know what you’ll be quizzed on later!

While listening to lectures or going through lessons, have a Word document or your Notes app pulled up to jot things down. You can even take handwritten notes. Be sure to keep them organized so when it comes time to study for a quiz or test, you can refer back. Plus, your notes can be a great resource for when you need a refresher in the future.

Keep Track of Deadlines

When taking online classes, it’s easy to let deadlines creep up on you. This is why it’s so important to look ahead.

A great way to stay on top of deadlines is to use a weekly planner—whether it’s a physical planner or an online resource like Google Keep, Trello or even your Notes app. At the beginning of each course, map out your deadlines for assignments so you know what to expect from the beginning. This will help to minimize stress and give you adequate time to study and prepare for everything coming your way.

Ask for Help When You Need It

Even though you won’t be interacting with your instructor in-person, they are still there to help. If you have questions about the course material, how the class is structured or even questions about the industry as a whole, don’t hesitate to reach out to them by leaving a comment in your online classroom.

In addition to helping you with the course, your instructors can be valuable resources in your career moving forward. Whether you’re looking for career guidance or need a letter of recommendation, they can be a great contact to have. Even as an online student, you can still build your professional network!

When all is said and done, online classes provide a great way to earn an education that helps you to reach your goals. Keep these tips in mind and you’ll be well on your way to success! 

Have Questions About Online Learning?

UTI is here to help. Visit our online learning resource page to find information on how to set up your account, access your UTI email, answers to frequently asked questions, an intro to Blackboard Ultra and more.

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