Becoming an Effective and Successful Online Learner

During the pandemic, many students (and their parents), realized that online learning wasn’t the same experience as sitting in a physical classroom all day. Some students didn’t like their experiences, while others thrived, pushing them to find a long-term online schooling option.

At Xceed, we offer our hybrid Xceed Preparatory Academy and our online Xceed Preparatory Virtual School, both of which have attracted students from all over the world. However, we recognize that students may be nervous about switching to our innovative model, so President of Education Betty Norton, a career educator and online learning expert, shared the following advice to help students who are transitioning into hybrid or fully online learning environments.

Practical steps students can take to become more effective as an online learner

Online learners mostly struggle with scheduling and time management. It can be difficult to figure out, especially for younger learners who may have grown accustomed to bell schedules or teacher-led activities. Here are some tips to help an online learner become a happy and successful online learner:

  • Find a space at home where you can work and make it your own. Spruce it up with photos, drawings, pencils and scratch paper and maybe even a fidget spinner or Rubik’s Cube for when you need a little brain break. This is your quiet place for when you have meetings with your teachers or group lessons to attend.
  • Create a realistic, daily schedule of when you plan to work. It helps if you plan out most of your day. For example: Wake up at 9am, shower and breakfast, then log in by 10am. You can even split your coursework by subject area; perhaps Mondays and Wednesdays are STEM and Tuesdays and Thursdays are Humanities, while Fridays are for catching up and getting ready for the following week.
  • Review your schedule with family members. Get their feedback and have fun with it! Call it a board meeting and share with your family what your goals are, when you plan to have quiet study time, and any scheduled group or individual lessons you might have during the week. This gets everyone involved and they know how to support you.

Problems online learners sometimes face and how they cope

Online learners can feel lonely at times or like they are working in a silo. Here are some suggestions I find helpful for students who learn online:

  • Move about! While you have your own space for quiet learning time, it’s equally important to work in different places so you don’t get stuck in a rut. Sit in the backyard if the weather is nice or if you play a sport, get there early and work on an assignment or two.
  • Join a school club! These days, students have access to so many online communities through their schools that are just for students and are safe environments. Students can join National Honor Society or even a book club at their school. The clubs are sponsored by staff who facilitate and also supervise student interactions. It can be a fun way to make new friends and do something you love.
  • Most importantly, ask for help. If you start to feel like you’re falling behind, getting bored with your routine, or your schedule may not be working, talk to your teacher, parents, or school counselor that can help you make a few changes.

Study strategies that work better in online learning spaces

The pandemic really brought about huge changes in education. Many of the platforms that educators and parents shied away from in the past, suddenly were front and center when it came to learning. There are plenty of digital tools to help students stay organized, manage their time, and stay focused.

I encourage students to use the Pomodoro method. It breaks work down focus time into smaller units of time and helps you stay focused. I love that breaks are built in at specific intervals.

Students can also use an online notebook like OneNote or Notability where you can easily find notes by unit, date, subject area, or however you like to organize yourself.

Finally, many online teachers use the flipped classroom to help students prepare for lessons regardless of where they may be time wise or pace. The flipped classroom allows a student to watch a video created by the teacher or other online source and watch it as many times as they need to, to understand a concept or apply steps to solve a math equation for example. Keeping video resources bookmarked or in a browser folder makes them easily accessible and cuts down on searching for things throughout the course.

Give yourself grace

The beauty of online learning in a flexible environment like Xceed’s is that students can go at their own pace. So, take the opportunity to learn your platform, decide on and settle into your time management and study habits and don’t be so hard on yourself. As I said before, don’t be afraid to ask for help or guidance – no question is too small or too daunting for us educators.

Learn more

To find out more about Xceed’s fully online middle and high school, Xceed Preparatory Virtual School, please click here.