5 Tips for Effective Virtual Learning
Virtual learning is more popular than ever, especially since the current state of events worldwide is keeping many people from physical classrooms. Online learning doesn’t come naturally to everyone. Here are five practical tips that can help students thrive when taking advantage of that format.
1. Reduce Distractions in the Learning Environment
Traditional classrooms have some things that could take your mind off work — such as someone loudly chewing gum or the person that keeps restlessly tapping their foot. However, virtual learning environments can offer distractions, too.
Your cat might meow and purr loudly, begging for a treat or head scratch. Perhaps your housemate dashes into the room unexpectedly and asks for your opinion on the latest reality show episode that the two of you watch.
Assess which factors are most likely to distract you during virtual learning sessions. Then, do your best to minimize them.
For example, you could tell everyone you live with not to interrupt you during the blocks of time when classes occur. You might also silence your phone’s notification sounds.
2. Use a Password Manager
Most online services require passwords. People use them when they check their bank accounts, watch a streaming movie, shop for essentials, and launch video chat tools. Virtual learning inevitably increases the number of passwords to remember.
You might have one for your university’s email service, plus others for each class that uses an online learning interface. If your institution offers perks like remote access to library resources, you likely have to enter passwords for those, too.
It’s no surprise that 2019 research from Google/Harris Poll found that 66% of Americans use the same password for more than one account. Moreover, only 34% of respondents said they change their passwords regularly. Choosing the same password for multiple accounts and keeping it for a long time increases hackers’ chances of successfully using your credentials to access sites, possibly stealing information.
That’s why cybersecurity experts recommend that virtual learners use password managers. They encrypt login information, preventing you from needing to remember it. Some of them automatically generate hard-to-guess passwords or suggest when to choose new ones, too. Forgetting a login wastes time and could hinder your online learning experience. Password managers offer simplicity and safety, and many browsers even have these tools built into them.
3. Consider Getting Tutoring for the Most Challenging Subjects
Many people excel in some subjects and find others substantially more difficult. That’s natural, but ignoring the problem could mean they fall behind in an online course.
If you find you need extra help to understand the material in a class, an online tutoring service could help. Research shows that close relationships between teachers and students can positively affect how learners perform. When you’re in a large online class, it’s easy to feel lost in the crowd. Tutoring makes up that gap.
The nice thing about online tutoring is that some options are available 24/7. You don’t need to book your session in advance but can just log on and connect with a knowledgeable person as the need arises.
Online tutoring services also have features like chat interfaces, digital whiteboards, and file-sharing capabilities. These additions make it easy to receive help quickly without feeling frustrated.
4. Maintain a Healthy Sleep Schedule
The amount of sleep people need depends on numerous factors, including their age and activity level. Most individuals typically notice they feel more clear-headed and in a better mood after a good night’s rest. However, they may not immediately connect better sleep with improved learning.
Researchers at Brown University found that people who were rewarded when participating in visual perceptual performed better than those who did not. However, those gains only occurred if people slept after doing the task. A real or anticipated prize reinforces the neural circuits between the brain’s reward and visual areas. Sleep makes those circuits more likely to reactivate, helping with task learning.
Getting sleep isn’t always straightforward — especially since so many people often have smartphones within arm’s reach while in bed. These devices emit blue light that could make it more difficult to get to or stay asleep, research suggests.
Maybe you let your child play with educational apps in bed. Fortunately, you can easily avoid the negative effects of blue light by having them wear accessories such as Kids Colors Night Swannies. Those cool, child-sized glasses block 99% of the blue light from gadgets. Simply have kids wear them until they finish playing with their devices at bedtime.
5. Accommodate Physical and Mental Health Needs During Class Time
Just as you need to give the body enough sleep, it’s vital to take care of it during waking hours. In a conventional learning environment, people frequently move around. They go to different rooms for new classes, grab meals at the cafeteria or stretch their legs while strolling across campus. Regular movement prevents problems like muscle stiffness. It also provides mental stimulation through scenery changes. However, online learners may stay in one place for hours.
Health experts say that people of all ages need preventive measures to keep their bodies in alignment during virtual learning. For example, keeping the computer screen at eye level and at least 18 to 24 inches from the seated person is a great start. Another effective tip is to practice the 20-20-20 rule. Every 20 minutes, take at least 20 seconds to look at something no less than 20 feet away from you.
Doing that helps prevent eye strain, and it’s even better if you wear blue light blocking glasses while learning. If you use prescription eyewear now, no worries. Day Swannies Custom Rx: Progressives are multifocal accessories made to order based on your prescription.
Exercising while sitting at a desk is also a great option. Maybe you logged on for class 10 minutes before the scheduled start time. If so, you have time to do some stretches.
Tune in to your mental well-being, too. If you’re trying to learn a complicated subject after just getting news of a friend’s severe illness, you’ll understandably have trouble concentrating. In other cases, you may simply feel drained by the world’s constant chaos. Taking a short break could be enough to provide the refreshment you need before returning to studying.
Enhance Your Virtual Learning Results
Many people are new to virtual learning. Others are familiar with it but want to improve their outcomes. The five tips discussed here are valuable to students regardless of their online learning experience level.