Our Top 7 Tips for Online Learning Success

August 31, 2020 | Laura

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Teen using a laptop wearing a mask
Students will need to adapt to online learning this fall.

The school year for high school students is going to look different this year. Online learning is going to be a big part of it, so we’ve pulled together the best tips out there on how to succeed in online learning.


1. Treat online courses (or online aspects of a course) like a traditional course

Most students now have some experience with online learning, but keep in mind that it is a real course and your teacher will have expectations. How would you approach or behave in a traditional class? Apply it here, too. That includes staying organized, completing school work on time and paying attention. Don’t assume it will be easier or less demanding because the format is different.


2. Hold yourself accountable

Even if you aren’t seeing your teachers or visiting a physical classroom as often, try not to slack off. Having good time management in an online learning environment is crucial. You may experience that things take longer to complete and concepts might be harder to grasp. Be sure to give yourselves enough time to complete readings, homework and assignments.


3. Be ready to learn

Come to your virtual class, or online work time, ready to go! We don’t only mean the fundamentals of having brushed your teeth and eaten something. But be sure you are in a learning mindset. Be ready to listen, think and engage. Your approach and attitude will impact your learning experience, and that will determine how successful you can be.


4. Avoid distractions, but take breaks

Staring at a screen can be hard, especially for long hours throughout the day. While you are focusing on learning be sure to limit distractions like your phone, TV and video games. Avoid having extra tabs (not related to school) open on your browser and put your phone on silent and leave it out of reach. You may like having music on in the background as you study, but during a live session this may be distracting.

Don't forget that taking breaks from the screen can be crucial to your learning success. So get up and stretch, have a snack or walk around the block for some fresh air!


5. Figure out what works for you

You can engage with your online learning at any time throughout the day unless you have to join a live session. One of the benefits of online learning can be going at your own pace and at a time that works for you. Discover what times of the day you're most focused on your studies. Do you work better in the late afternoon, or first thing in the morning? Can you only manage 30 minutes at a time in front of the screen, or can you devote longer periods to school work? Bottom line: acknowledge what works for you and plan accordingly.


6. Stay engaged, as much as you can.

Not being in a physical classroom can affect your engagement with school work. It can also impact your engagement with your classmates and teacher. So you may have to try extra hard to keep that engagement (and interest) alive. Ask questions in whatever format is set up – it could be through your microphone, the chat feature or through email. Take part in any class discussions and reach out to your teacher if you need help and clarification. Try forming a virtual study group with classmates to help you tackle the work and stay connected.


7. Seek out support, we are here for you!

No one is denying that this school year is going to look and feel different. It may cause you to struggle both with the course work and with your own mental health. Don’t be afraid to reach out to your teacher or school for help if you need it. Keep in mind the library is here to support you, too.


Check out our Homework Help page to see all of the online resources we have for you. We also have our online homework help service Brainfuse to support you. All you need is a library card to access online tutoring every day from 2 pm until 11 pm.

We hope you have a great and successful school year!

Post updated Sep 17, 2020 with new image.