5 Ways to Set Up for Online Learning Success!
Learning online has many benefits. Flexibility in where and when you learn and the ability to design your own learning space are two of them. But successful online learning requires some thought. Unlike a traditional classroom, online learning requires learners to take more ownership of what and how they learn. For many, this is a big shift and takes some adjustment. Read below for some tips on how to make the transition easier and have a successful semester.
Set Up a Designated Work Space
Where will you learn? Even if this answer may change from time to time, it’s important to set up a designated space in your home or where you plan to spend the most time.
For younger learners, think about a space where parent and learner can work together comfortably. A nook in the kitchen or living room with a small storage bin will do. Keep it simple. Minimize distraction. Make it fun and comfortable for both child and adult.
For teens, think about a space where you are really comfortable and feel like your best self. However, distraction is a problem. Do not set up your work space near your TV or where you play video games. Your brain is already programmed in that space. Think about flexible seating options so you can mix it up through the day. If you have them accessible, hang a bulletin board or wall calendar for you to keep track of important things. Have snacks and water handy. Make it a place you really want to be every day. Check HERE for some inspiration.
Supplies to have at your work space:
- Pencils, pens, highlighter
- Notebook for notes (one for each course or one large one organized by tabs)
- Planner or calendar
- Printer (optional)
- Sticky notes
- Something to do that doesn’t distract you from work. A fidget spinner, jar of play dough, stress ball, or doodle pad are all great ideas.
Remember, it doesn’t have to be fancy, and you don’t have to buy anything. Think about what you already have, and make it work for you!
Set Your Schedule
It is recommended you learn about four to six hours, five days a week. Make sure to plan out your learning times. Work with your parent/guardian and your academic coach to brainstorm what will work best for you. Write it out and stick to it. If you miss an hour here or there, make sure you add it on to a different day to make up that missed time. Setting your learning schedule will help you stay on track or even finish courses early! Make sure to check each course in PowerSchool for live virtual workshops, on-site science labs, and other events that you may have to schedule in.
It is so easy to get distracted when learning online.
StayFocused is a free Chrome extension that allows you to block certain websites, set time limits on others, and track your time. Limiting the time you spend on YouTube, Facebook, and other fun sites to 10 minutes gives you a quick brain break and then reminds you to get back to schoolwork. Make sure you have Google Chrome installed as your internet browser, and then click HERE to install. Then change your settings by clicking the icon in the upper right-hand toolbar and finding the settings link.
What other distractions do you think you need to eliminate to be successful? Make a list of possible distractions and and then brainstorm some specific ways to stay focused below.
- List possible distractions:
- List ways to stay focused:
Gather Your Technology
You don’t need much to learn online. A laptop or desktop will do. It can also be helpful to have a mouse (our wrists were not designed to use a touchpad all day every day). Using a mouse can eliminate wear and tear on your body. A printer may come in handy if you prefer to print out your assignments and write them by hand. You will also need steady WiFi. Contact your facilitator if you need support getting a laptop or WiFi for learning.
Set up your virtual learning space (AKA your computer)
Suggested Chrome Extensions
- Grammarly (helps you correct your spelling and grammar with one click of a button)
- HERE are 10 more we love!
We highly recommend all learners have a Google Account. This allows them access to email, Google Drive, and more. Learners will need to use Google Docs for their school work. You can register for an account for free, or request one through the school.
Learn on the Go!
PowerSchool has an App for Apple devices. Click HERE to download to your iPhone or iPad. This is great if you want to check discussion boards, do some reading, or submit an assignment when you are not around your computer.
Holding yourself accountable for success in online learning is important. Here are some things to think about to ensure you have lots of support for success:
- Meeting with your parent/guardian: Set a regular (weekly or monthly) meeting time to go over your grades with your parent(s)/guardian. Talk about what you are doing really well and enjoying and where you are struggling. Brainstorm ways you and your parent can work together to meet your goals.
- Meeting with your facilitator: Your facilitator is here to help you be successful in school and life. Make sure to reach out wherever you are struggling. They can help you brainstorm solutions and offer resources.
- Find a study buddy. There are lots of online learners just like you! Reach out to your peers in your classes to find someone to connect with.
- Reward yourself! Whether it is little rewards throughout the day (a gummy bear for every assignment completed) or big rewards (a trip for As and Bs at semester), creating a system of external rewards helps keep you focused on getting through.
- Make checklists. Log in every morning to make a list of everything you need to do that day at school. Here are some suggested daily to-dos for success:
- Read your checklist from the previous day. Transfer over any tasks you did not complete to today’s checklist.
- Check email and respond to each important one received.
- Check announcements. Write down things you need to do.
- Check gradebook for feedback and comments from your facilitators. Write down any assignments you need to redo or fix.
- Check calendar.
- Check agenda for that week.
- Make a list of all coursework, assignments, discussions, and projects you need to work on today.
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