More students are now choosing online school as a full time alternative to their local school. While the switch to online can take a little adjusting, here we share a few simple ways to stay focused, maximise your online effectiveness and get the most out of your virtual education.
1) Start organised to stay on track
The “start as you mean to go on” adage is the perfect attitude to online learning. There is no doubt that this educational style requires independent learning skills, so we recommend our students take some time to figure out what approach to keeping on top of deadlines might work best for them.
Where some people might find creating an online calendar or using task-scheduling apps suits them best, many others prefer something tangible by their desk, such as a white-board.
The same applies to note-taking during lessons. Whether these are done digitally or by hand, it’s essential that they are clearly named and methodically filed away to ensure they’re easy to find, review and revise from. This might mean having a dedicated notebook per subject or creating a series of folders and subfolders per class at the beginning of the academic year to cover everything from class materials to homework.
Whatever system you choose, the crucial factor is that it works for you, and that students develop good, consistent habits.
2) Take control of the way you learn
One of the great benefits of online school at King’s College Online is that lessons are recorded so that you can watch them again whenever you like to help reinforce the key points.
With such a wide range of materials shared by our teachers in preparation for class discussions, it’s important that students proactively make time to review these to ensure everyone’s starting from the same baseline level of knowledge.
However, part of taking personal responsibility for one’s own learning is not being afraid to tell your tutor if there’s anything you didn’t fully understand, or asking for help if you need additional guidance. This is one of the reasons we combine our regular classes with smaller weekly tutorial groups plus a dedicated personal tutor for fully personalised support.
3) Stay engaged through active participation
Our experience indicates that students learn best when they join in the discussion. Which is why we encourage all our students to take an active role in their daily classes and nurture a growth mindset by testing out their ideas.
By using Microsoft Teams for our lessons, being brave can be as straightforward as putting your hand up in the chat forum or contributing to the conversations on the group chat or during breakout sessions with your peers.
We recommend keeping your camera’s and microphones on in the tutorial sessions so you can interact spontaneously like you would in a face-to-face lesson.
4) Welcome feedback in all its forms
When you join in a group discussion, this interaction opens the door for your teacher to share immediate feedback and help you stay motivated. However, debating a topic with peers can also be an invaluable way to deepen your understanding of a topic, consider other angles and, ultimately, develop your own opinions.
Active learners act on suggestions while they’re fresh in their mind, and regularly review learnings to reinforce ideas. We encourage students to think of homework critique as an opportunity to receive specific targets to improve on and constructive ways on how to drive their own education forward.
Ultimately, we want our students to embrace challenges and reframe learning gaps as an opportunity to progress and become even more effective in the future. So being able to recognise your own potential to improve is a huge strength, and a vital stepping-stone to success.
5) Look after yourself and strive for balance
There’s more to creating the optimum working environment than simply having a dedicated desk area with good lighting, the right seating and everything you need to study close at hand.
To get the most out of online learning, we think students should place equal emphasis on focused time away from the computer. Whilst our teachers build in plenty of offline activities to ensure students have screen-free periods, it’s also important students remember to take regular breaks, find exercise they enjoy, and schedule extra-curricular activities.
Having a clear divide between home and school life is also essential from a wellbeing perspective. For some families, this may include being able to create a physical as well as psychological separation by setting up their school station in a different part of the house.
Ultimately, the key to success is to achieve a healthy balance. And, with our tried and tested teaching approaches, we’re confident we can help your family achieve this.