Five useful tips to stay productive when you are learning from home
This past year, we have all had to make massive adjustments in many areas of our lives. From kindergarteners to those in university, students have all been particularly affected by these changes. In addition to changes to classroom learning, many students have begun taking classes online for the first time, sometimes with little warning or time to ease into the new system. They have had to discover how to learn in a completely different way.
We are so proud of the hard work students have been putting forth while adjusting to these measures. They are resilient and it shows!
To all the parents for working overtime, both physically and emotionally, to help their children make these adjustments, we offer our sincerest thanks and admiration.
We know how challenging it has been for all of you! Many of our tutors have had first-hand experience helping students who were making this adjustment to online learning. We have asked for their advice and have also consulted expert opinion to find the best ways that you and your family can adjust to this new way of learning.
1. Go easy on yourself
As you work on the strategies below, be gentle with yourself or your child while making this shift to remote learning. We are not computer hard drives, we are human, and it can take us time to adjust mentally and emotionally to new circumstances and environments.
If you have the occasional hiccup in your transition to online schooling, don’t take it as a sign of failure! Take things one day at a time and try to make learning a positive experience as much as possible.
2. Create a designated space for study
Students have found it incredibly useful to assign and set up a specific area in their home dedicated to their online work. Whether it be an office, a spare room, or even the dining room—whatever works best for you and your home dynamic, try to make sure you have ONE specific area that is only used for school. This can help keep the space distraction-free and also relieve the student from the thought of their studies when it is time to take a break elsewhere in the home.
3. Get involved with other students
A cohort is a great way to stay connected and encouraged in your studies alongside your peers. Some schools or institutions have cohorts that they have created for their students, especially at such a time as this. But you can also create what is called an informal functional cohort, simply just getting connected with your fellow students online, and working on projects, lessons and course material together. Cohorts have proved to be powerful motivators when students work solely online. As social beings, students need to know that they are not alone, to keep learning an exciting experience and to feel more supported and connected.
4. Take breaks seriously
With so much time spent sitting at your computer, it is important to try to give your head and body a rest from the screen when you take your break. While you step away from your work space, try engaging a different area of the brain. Take a short walk, meditate, or absorb yourself in any sort of exercise you can fit into a short break. Short workout routines and exercises provide an energizing break.
Alejandro Lleras, professor of psychology at the University of Illinois, led a study about improving knowledge retention. He found that, without taking breaks, students have a harder time recalling what they study. He observes that “constant stimulation is registered by our brains as unimportant, to the point that the brain erases it from our awareness.” Experts also say that short, frequent breaks are better than longer ones that are more spaced out. They find that a five- to ten-minute break every hour is better than taking twenty minutes every three hours. For productivity, make sure you are giving your body and mind the breaks they need.
5. Take advantage of your time
Do you ever feel downtrodden about learning from home on a screen? Try shifting your focus to the things you can do during this time. Take time to cultivate new interests, or go back to hobbies you once did but have lost the time for in the busyness of life. This is a great time to learn how to slow down and to connect to things that truly spark passion within. Parents, encourage your young learners to keep up regularly with the things that they love to do outside of study time. It is easy to let things fall by the wayside during times of stress. Experts say that having a hobby is key to handling work-life stress and thinking creatively. This is equally applicable to success in your studies. There are a lot of ways people are learning to cope and thrive during this time, and it will look different for everyone. Just remember that this time is unique, and you want to make sure your response has a positive effect on your learning habits and your overall self. You CAN develop good habits in your online studies that will significantly improve your success throughout this experience! Be intentional. Stay connected. And focus on the things you can control in this educational journey.
Those people who develop the ability to continuously acquire new and better forms of knowledge that they can apply to their lives will be the movers and shakers in our society for the indefinite future.Brian Tracy