Strategies for Getting the Most Out of Online Classes
In the past, going to school meant physically attending in-person classes, which often posed challenges for working men and women or those with complicated schedules. Now, thanks to advances in technology, it’s easier than ever to find a healthcare program that offers the flexibility you need, whether through traditional in-person classes, online learning, or a blend of the two.
There are many advantages of going to school online. Taking an online program makes it easier to earn a certificate or degree while balancing work and family commitments.
Online classes can present unique challenges, however, if you’re not prepared. But if you develop skills for effective online learning, you’ll find the courses can be an excellent alternative to a traditional classroom setting. Here are some tips for online learning success to make sure you get the most value out of your next class.
Tips for Taking Online Classes
If you’re considering taking an online program (or you’re already enrolled in a program) the tips and advice below can help you address their unique challenges to get the most value out of your program.
1. Treat an online course like a “real” thing.
When it comes to online classes, you need to have the discipline to sit down and say, “I am going to work on this,” as well as the dedication to actually follow through. One of the easiest ways to ensure follow through is to remember that you are paying to take this program. Just as you would for a traditional, in-person program, you must “show up” if you’re going to get real value out of your class. Treat your online classes the same way you would a face-to-face class—or, better yet, a job—and you’ll be off to the right start.
2. Hold yourself accountable
Set goals at the beginning of the module and check in with yourself weekly. If you’re having trouble holding yourself responsible, pair up with a fellow classmate, or enlist the help of a spouse or friend to check in as an accountability partner. By being organized, proactive, and self-aware, you can get the most from your online class even when life outside of school becomes chaotic.
3. Practice time management.
The flexibility to create your own schedule is often one of the biggest appeals of taking online classes. But that freedom can also be detrimental if you do not have solid time management skills. Without them, you might easily find yourself cramming before classes or handing in subpar assignments. Though how you manage your time will depend on your schedule, learning style, and personality. Look at the syllabus at the start of the module and make note of major assignments. Mark them on a calendar you check regularly so you know what workload is coming in the weeks ahead. Don’t forget to factor in prior commitments that may interfere with your regular study schedule, so you can give yourself enough extra time to complete assignments. When working on your assignments, try time-blocking, allotting yourself a certain amount of time for each task before moving on to the next one and setting a timer to keep you accountable.
4. Create a regular study space and stay organized.
Set up a dedicated learning environment for studying. By completing your work there repeatedly, you’ll begin to establish a routine. Whether your workspace is your kitchen table, a bedroom, or a living room coffee table it’s important to determine what type of environment will work best for you. Experiment to discover which type of setting boosts your productivity. Wherever you choose, make sure there’s high-speed internet access so you’re not trying to take an online program over a lagging connection. Setting up a regular workspace or office will also help you to stay organized. Knowing exactly where important dates, files, forms, syllabi, books, and assignments live will help keep you on track towards hitting your goals.
5. Eliminate distractions.
From Netflix to social media to dishes piling up in the sink, you’ll be faced with many distractions that can easily derail your studies. The best online students know how to lessen these distractions and set aside time to focus. Exactly how much of a challenge these distractions will prove to be will depend on your own unique personality and situation. Some might find that they can tune out a noisy home by listening to music. Others might choose to work from a bedroom with the door closed to eliminate their urge to multitask at home. Ultimately, you will need to find a strategy that works best for you. Regardless of where you choose to work, consider turning your cell phone off to avoid losing focus every time a text message or notification pops up.
6. Figure Out How You Learn Best
Once you’ve established where you’ll learn, think about when and how you accomplish your best work. If you’re a morning person, make time to study first thing. More of a night owl? Set aside an hour or two after dinner to cozy up to your computer. If the kids require your morning and evening attention, try to carve out a study session mid-day while they’re working on their school work. Brew your usual cup of coffee, put on your go-to playlist, and do whatever you need to get into the zone and down to business. Not everyone learns the same way, so think about what types of information help you best grasp new concepts and employ relevant study strategies. If you’re a visual learner, for example, print out transcripts of the video lectures to review. Learn best by listening? Make sure to build time into your schedule to play and replay all audio- and video-based course content.
7. Actively participate.
Participate in the course’s online forum to help you better understand course materials and engage with fellow classmates. This might involve commenting on a classmate’s paper on a discussion board or posting a question about a project you’re working on. Read what other students and your instructors are saying, and if you have a question, ask for clarification. And if you do feel yourself falling behind, speak up. Don’t wait until an assignment is almost due to ask questions or report issues. Email your professor and be proactive in asking for help.
Going from face to face classroom interaction to online classes can be a big adjustment for you. A supportive environment is key. That’s where the Allen School of Health Sciences comes in; Helping Medical Assistant students transition to a new way of learning.
In order to protect our community during the COVID-19 crisis, The Allen School of Health Sciences is offering virtual campus tours for enrollment in classes starting soon. Contact the Allen School today! We cannot wait for you to become part of the Allen School family. Visit www.allenschool.edu to learn more.
– Allen School