Online school has enormous benefits for students. From flexible scheduling to positive learning environments to the acquisition of new and important skills, there is no denying the advantages of virtual learning. However, just as with any educational experience, online schooling comes with its challenges as well. One of the biggest challenges that online students face is how to study well. Since personality responsibility and self-discipline are a huge part of online schooling, some students can struggle to stay on top of their studies and maintain their grades before they master skills like time management, self-motivation, and superb studying skills. SDVS is passionate about not only giving our students a quality education, but also about preparing them for the future by giving them opportunities to learn, practice, and master new skills. In order to establish good habits, those habits must first be developed. Here are our top tips for developing online study habits that will eventually lead to mastery of these skills and improved studying capabilities and grades.
Make a Schedule & Stick to It
Time management, like many other skills, is mastered with practice. Online students should be diligent about creating a school schedule that includes time to watch or read lessons, contribute to class discussions, complete assignments, and study for tests. And more than anything else, they should stick to this schedule. This single tip can mean a world of difference for students’ grades, focus, and ability to retain information. Staying consistent with a study schedule will not only improve self-discipline, self-motivation, and focus, but it will also help you remember what you’re learning better, making it easier to do well on assignments and exams. It’s okay if your schedule changes from week to week or month to month, but be sure to lay out a schedule whenever needed and stick to what you set for yourself.
The fastest way to derail productivity is with disorganization. Let’s say you sit down to study and complete homework and you can’t find your study guide. Or that book you need is nowhere to be found and your notes have water spilled on them. Organization is a huge part of success, both physically and mentally. If you can’t find or keep track of your study materials, how will you study effectively? At the same time, if your workspace is a mess, it’s easy to get distracted or frustrated by it, and you can easily lose focus by paying attention to all the clutter in your area. Keep your schoolwork organized and keep your work area clean and tidy, and your study sessions will be much more productive.
Know Your Learning Style
This is a huge part of studying, especially for online learners. It makes a huge difference when it comes to preparing for exams, especially given the study materials you may have or need for your classes. If you are an auditory learner, for example, then reading through notes on your computer likely won’t be super effective. It would be better for you to listen to a recording of someone discussing the topics or even to read the notes out loud to yourself. If you’re a visual learner, listening to a recording may not be helpful, but watching a video with a demonstration would likely be very beneficial. Know how you learn best and tailor your studying according to that. This will not only help you establish better study habits, but it will also make your studying more effective.
Staying on top of your schoolwork and even getting ahead will only benefit you. Since you have more flexibility as an online student than you would in a traditional school, you can really work hard to stay ahead of the game whenever you have extra time on your hands. This can give you more time to tackle more challenging tasks or concepts, which will be beneficial if you need more study time or have a lot of questions. Getting ahead in your schoolwork is also a great idea for virtual students who have very unique schedules. Maybe you are an athlete or performer who has to travel a lot, or maybe you only have a few days each week or a few weeks each month to complete schoolwork. If that’s the case, getting ahead will give you a much-needed break from school when you have to focus on other things for a little while.
Ask for Help When Needed
One of the most important parts of growth, whether personal, academic, or professional, is recognizing when you need help and asking for it. Teachers are available for questions at any time, and they would always rather you ask a question or request a more thorough explanation of something than you not ask and continue to not understand something. Don’t hesitate to ask for assistance in anything school-related, especially if there is something that you just can’t quite make sense of. The more you ask for help, the more likely you are to not only understand the material better, but you’re also more likely to improve your critical thinking skills so that the next time around, you may be better able to figure out something difficult on your own.
At San Diego Virtual School, we are passionate about teaching our students to be smarter, better, and more responsible individuals. Developing online study habits is an important part of being a student, and those good habits will translate to your later years after high school graduation, so it’s important to master those skills now and reap the benefits for years to come.