10 Distance Learning Pro Tips for the Semester Ahead
Distance-learning is here to stay in the age of the pandemic. How you are able to navigate it will largely depend on attitude. That said, there are steps that you can take to make this process easier.
In the following article, we will be looking at 10 in particular. This is not a “pick one” scenario. You need to be doing all of this to make the most of this situation. Without further ado, let’s start the learning!
1. Realize Your Physical Space Is Still Important
Physical space that is neat and orderly helps to clear the mind and put you into a productive state. Before opening your computer to do the work, you should have a clean desk with clutter put away.
The more stuff that crowds your workstation, the harder it will be to focus. This leads to a compulsion that you have to multitask. You’ll be switching to something else every five minutes, and that makes it incredibly difficult to handle the work you’re meant to do.
2. Allow for Online Socialization
There isn’t much that you can do socially during a pandemic. Even small gatherings of people can put you at risk of catching the virus. You have to be smart about how you socialize. Online socialization can be a welcome distraction from the lack of human contact.
Don’t overdo it, though. It’s easy to get locked into unhelpful debates and arguments on websites like Facebook. You don’t want to engage in socialization that will end up commanding your entire day. Set a timer, check in with people you care about, and ignore the noise.
3. Get the Family Onboard
Your family can be very supportive or they can create massive distractions. It all depends on how cooperative they are by nature and how willing to listen they are to your requests.
Before setting out with your distance learning, talk to everyone in your household to let them know you are off-limits during study hours. If this doesn’t work, you might try a coffee shop, Wi-Fi-enabled restaurant, or any secluded location that may be open to the public.
4. Keep Tabs on Your Workload
Distance learning requires a great deal of independent study and focus. To do it well, you must grow up a little sooner than maybe you expected. That means keeping up with your class assignments better and taking the initiative to turn things in on time.
The act of doing so will make you a more organized student. Organized students are able to keep up with what they need to do and master their focus. If you can learn how to do this well, then you’ll be well on your way.
5. Make Time for Self-Care
Not all success with the distance learning requires you to open the books and turn in assignments. Sometimes the best thing that you can do for yourself is to step away and do something that is emotionally fulfilling.
Do you have any hobbies that you would like to spend more time with? Perhaps you should go for a run or weightlifting session. Think of all the things that make you feel better physically, mentally, and emotionally. Make time for those things when you are not obligated to be inside of a virtual classroom.
6. Manage Your Procrastinating Self
With so many distractions at home, it can be easy to put things off until the last minute. This is a temptation you will have to fight. There is no one there breathing down your neck every second to make sure you are doing what you were supposed to do. It is up to you to work at a pace that is conducive to learning.
Working to timers can help you along. Scheduling mini-rewards in between tasks is another good method. And planning — you need to engage in plenty of planning to make sure the structure of learning is supported.
7. Continue to Build Relationships
Failing to build relationships during a pandemic is a sure way to go crazy. Don’t allow yourself to wallow in the loneliness. Keep in touch with your friends. Schedule small getaways where you can reconnect. Find new people to meet and communicate with through social media.
Hold conversations through Messenger or texting. This gives you the opportunity to work at your own pace without distracting too much from your studies. You are going to be home for a while, so it’s important to keep the time you put in interesting and fresh.
8. Be Flexible
You have the opportunity to decide when you study, where you study, and how you study. That means you are allowed to work from the kitchen table or in front of the television set, though the latter is not recommended.
It also means you can study one subject straight through on a given day or all subjects broken up to relieve the monotony. In some cases, you can use a computer or a textbook. Whatever you decide, be flexible. Don’t fear stealing a few moments to study here and there or doing a marathon study session that lasts for hours with breaks in between.
9. Live in the Present
Part of what makes a pandemic so difficult to deal with and distance learning, too, for that matter, is worrying about what’s to come. The quicker that you can forget the past and only acknowledge the future while keeping both feet in the present, the easier it will be to get through the days and your obligations.
You must learn to notice your breathing, take time for meditation and self-care, and live fully in the moment knowing the moment itself is all that you have.
10. Build Your Technology All-Star Team
The last thing you need to figure out is how you’re going to get your work done. What will your workflow look like? Will you use Slack, Trello, Asana, Evernote, or any other apps to help augment your learning?
What will be required by your teachers? Where do you have the freedom to choose? Put together your technology all-star team and get your structure in place. If you need a tutorial or crash course, watch some how-to videos on the app websites or YouTube channels to get up to speed.
Follow This Blueprint for Distance Learning Success
Distance learning is not the way that learning was meant to be handled in the 21st Century, yet there hasn’t been a better time for it. You still need that one-on-one time with your instructor and the benefits of learning from a group. Until life can get back to “normal,” though, this is our new reality. We might as well make the most of it. And the way to do that is through the 10 steps we’ve just shared. Good luck in the coming semester!
[Featured Image by Flickr Creative Commons]