Six Practical Tips To Master Online Learning

Learning Sep 11, 2020

Learning online gives you two wonderful advantages — freedom and flexibility. But are you using it well?

Most people don’t realize that online learning is an essential skill.

You can learn a lot more than what you do from traditional education.

For instance, financial awareness like filing taxes and life skills like emotional intelligence is super important today. But schools usually don’t teach these vital skills.

Rather than teaching how to learn, many schools emphasize more on what to learn.

Since learning online is an indispensable skill today, let me share 6 practical tips on how to be successful at online learning.

Identify your pain points

Eckhart Tolle once said, “Awareness is the greatest agent for change.”

Identify and acknowledge any issues you may have with online learning. Some of the common problems faced are:

  • Distractions in the environment: Phone notifications or the frequent disturbances at your place certainly doesn’t facilitate smooth learning.
  • Logistics: Issues with internet speed, technical glitches, and other obstacles that divert you from the learning flow.
  • Lack of exercise: Lack of physical activity can make you lazy and push you towards procrastination.
  • Lack of accountability: With little or no supervision, relaxed rules, and no face-to-face peer meets, students often lose the will to learn.

Always be aware of what’s holding you back. You can think about taking a step in the right direction by adopting healthy learning habits.

Set, track, and celebrate

You’re not sure where to start?

Fret not! Asking yourself such questions will help you gain clarity –

  • What subject or course would you like to focus on?
  • What are the concepts under each chapter or module?
  • What are some online resources you would like to use?
  • When is the deadline?

Setting realistic goals is the first step to being a successful learner. To have a fruitful learning session, break your goal into smaller chunks. For example, you might have to cover one chapter for your test. So a smarter approach would be to divide the chapter based on concepts and topics. Periodically track your progress. An effective way would be to take a quiz or a test, and your performance will reveal your conceptual understanding.  

Don’t forget to treat yourself when you make some progress and achieve your goals. Rewards are directly linked to motivation. Hard to believe? Many researches including Harvard Business Review, have revealed that even tiny rewards can boost a person’s motivation significantly. So, don’t forget to reward yourself!

Break up with social media!

Do WhatsApp messages arrest your attention while you're learning online? Do you feel an irresistible urge to endlessly scroll through Instagram?

I feel you.

Whether you are pursuing Data Science or Humanities, having good learning habits can help you immensely.  

Since a few apps are too distracting, let’s fight fire with fire. Many apps block phone notifications, help you focus on a timer, and shower rewards for task completion. And the task is to stay focused.

This way you kill two birds with one stone – beat distractions and earn rewards. Now, how cool is that!

Take one step at a time

Do you want to get more done in less time? The Pomodoro technique has got your back. Backed by science, this technique is successful in increasing efficiency, fight fatigue, and beat procrastination. All you need to do is - focus for 25 minutes and take a short break of 5 minutes. Repeat the cycle.

When you take a quick break, indulge in activities that don’t require gadgets and screens because learning online also means being glued to the screen for long hours. It hampers your focus and even causes harm to your health.

Some positive activities that you can help you relax are-

  • A quick 5-minute guided relaxation meditation
  • Journaling
  • Going for a walk
  • Spending time in nature
  • Listening to your favorite music

Goodbye notebooks, hello technology!

Have you ever written notes in a book and misplaced it just before your exams? That was my college life in a nutshell.

For folks like me, note-taking apps are a life-saver! Note-taking apps are a useful tool for online learning because such apps effortlessly sync content and let you access it anywhere, anytime.

Some apps you can use are Evernote, Google Docs, or Microsoft One Note. While you pursue your online course or attend your lectures online, note-taking is an effective way of learning.

But students make some common mistakes while taking down notes such as-

Writing without understanding the point or even worse - writing without comprehending. Or the Fear of Missing Out (FOMO) manifests even among learners.

“Wait, what!?” I hear you, with your brows raised.

One mistake that many folks make is to take down everything the teacher says.

Literally everything! The small points that are insignificant or general information that requires common sense.

Another common mistake is to not create notes at all. Because of the overconfidence in memory to remember it.

If the online course has recorded sessions, students have the freedom to ‘Pause’ and ‘Rewind’ the video when concepts are not clear. This way, the learner is the boss! Students can re-visit confusing concepts and learn at their own pace.

Smart ways to use note-taking apps

Each note-taking app offers different features but irrespective of your choice, let me highlight some smart things you can do with it-

  • Organize your notes by using categories. This eliminates any confusion that may arise.
  • Color-code your notes.
  • Make a checklist of the concepts you are yet to learn. Just like how some people have a ‘To-Do List’, you can maintain a ‘To-Learn List’.
  • Add links for references.
  • Add names of books or any other additional material you need to read.

One size does not fit all, so experiment and see what help you learn effectively. Remember, online learning should enlighten you with knowledge and awareness.


Aishwaraya Kalro

Aishwaraya is a passionate educator and startup enthusiast. She believes in making an impact using storytelling, social media and content marketing.