Successful Online Learning 2020

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With the COVID-19 outbreak, many schools have moved to online instruction. While this is necessary to protect the health of students and faculty, it can be detrimental to the progress of students’ education. Although colleges often offer some online options, in person instruction is still the most common form of learning. So how can high school and college students adapt and succeed academically while learning online? Below, we have six tips for successful online learning in 2020 and beyond.


Understand the Software

One important step to successful online learning is understanding the software your school is using. Don’t just learn enough to attend virtual lectures or take tests. Know how to take advantage of all the tools it has to offer. Take some time to explore the software on your own and get comfortable using it, preferably before your first class session. If you have questions you can look up information online or ask your instructor.

Always Take Notes

Taking notes will not only help you retain information but will also force you to pay attention during online classes. Have a designated notebook, binder or document for each class. The act of writing has been shown to help students remember what they learned in class, so physically writing down your notes is the optimal method. Review your notes immediately after class if possible to further improve retention.


Classroom participation may be part of your grade in some courses. But even if it isn’t required , participating in class can help you remember important information. If you have questions, don’t be afraid to ask. And answer questions if the teacher asks and you know the answer. Participation will not only help you learn, but will be beneficial to your classmates as well. What if you get the answer wrong? Shake it off and don’t let it deter you from speaking up again. Everyone makes mistakes and now is a great time to learn resilience.

Read the Textbook

Many college students never crack the class textbook and often don’t bother to even buy it. However, the textbook can be your friend, particularly when learning online. If a textbook is required or recommended, don’t skip it. If you can’t afford the full price, there are textbook rental sites such as Chegg. You can also check with your school’s library to see if they have a textbook available for students to borrow.

Make a Study Schedule

A study schedule offers structure to students studying independently. It’s too easy to get distracted while learning online. As a result, students may procrastinate or completely forget to study. By creating a set time and place for studying, you’ll ensure that you are always prepared when test time rolls around. And your free time will be more enjoyable because you won’t have studying hanging over your head. Whether your schedule is online or written in a planner, be sure to keep it in a place you check often. Also set reminders for study times so that you won’t forget. And finally, specify which courses you’ll be studying during each session.

Choose a Quiet Study Space

Your study space should be quiet and uncluttered. Ideally, your space will have a door that can close and lock. If you have roommates or are living with family, make sure they are aware of your space and when you’ll be taking courses or studying. If you don’t already have a desk, try purchasing one so that you aren’t working where you sleep or relax. A clearly defined space for studying will help prevent distractions and keep you organized.

Get to Know Your Classmates

One big disadvantage to online learning is lack of interaction among students. You may never talk to another student during the semester when taking an online class. But it is possible to get to know your classmates. Reach out via message boards or email. You don’t have to talk to everyone in the class. Just knowing a couple of classmates can make you feel more comfortable and help you achieve success in the course. Introduce yourself (ex: Hi, I’m Mary and was in Intro to Psychology with you last semester) and ask if they are interested in virtual study sessions. If you’re shy, send them a question about something you’re having trouble with and then start up a conversation. After you’ve gotten to know the person a bit, you can ask if they’d like to study together and/or exchange notes.

Try Virtual Tutoring

Most colleges and some high schools will offer free tutoring services to students who need it. If your school doesn’t offer tutoring, there are plenty of websites that offer tutoring in almost every subject. Although you’ll have to pay, it might be worth the cost if you are really struggling in a particular course.

Use Browser Extensions for Students

There are many useful browser extensions to help students with studying. If you’re having trouble with distractions online, try downloading StayFocused to set limits on the amount of time you can spend on certain sites. Grammarly and Google Dictionary are must-have extensions for any student. Need to organize all of your online research? Try Diigo Web Collector, an easy-to-use tool which allows you to bookmark links to web pages, attach highlights and sticky notes to a web page and share pages with annotations on via social media.

Successful online learning is possible for most students, particularly in 2020. Newer software, such as Zoom, along with numerous productivity browser extensions allow for an improved online learning experience. If you want to be successful in an online course, use the tips above as a guide and your grades will reflect your effort.

1 thought on “Successful Online Learning 2020”

  1. I’m glad you mentioned finding a quiet place to study and be in class. My son is going to college next semester and we’re worried about him doing online learning. We’ll help him find the best spot in the house so he can study in peace.

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