5 Study Tips for Effective and Efficient Online Learning


As one of the most bizarre years of our lives, we’ve all needed to adapt to the ongoing unpredictable situation – and one of the ways we’ve done this is by transitioning to online learning through virtual platforms like WebEx.

Needless to say, online learning is very different from in-person learning, and oftentimes requires much more commitment and dedication. While everyone has different study strategies that work best for them, today, we’ll be sharing a few study tips specifically for online learning to help your study sessions go more effectively and efficiently.

1. Hold Yourself Accountable

We know that one of the most challenging parts of online learning is the fact that you have to hold yourself accountable – instructors or (even your peers) won’t be constantly checking in on you to make sure that you’ve done the readings or assignments.

young female college student online learning on red laptop studying

Whether the lectures are live or recorded, you should get out of bed and listen and watch the class at an actual table or desk. The key is to focus solely on the lecture and pay attention to the instructor. You should avoid watching it while you’re still in bed because you’ll easily lose focus and get distracted (or even worse, fall asleep – you know who you are).

If turning your camera on for the class isn’t mandatory, try turning it on anyway as another way of holding yourself accountable. If your camera is on, you won’t get sidetracked or disappear into the kitchen.   

2. Set a Study Schedule in Advance

Last-minute planning for your study schedule will only cause you more stress, especially when you start studying two days before a big exam and realize that you’re missing notes for a whole chapter. Avoiding this entire situation is easy when you plan ahead.

Even if it’s just one week in advance, you can start planning your study agenda, so you know exactly what you’re going to be working on and/or studying the day of. This way, you save time planning and deciding where to start, and instead, can actually get started right away. 

If you’re the type of person who likes to plan and organize, you should purchase a nice aesthetic planner (it doesn’t have to be an expensive one, there are plenty of affordable ones on the market). This will help motivate you to actually fill out your brand-new planner and plan your upcoming projects and assignments.

3. Eliminate Distractions

When you’re learning online at home, it can be easy to get distracted by so many things like your phone, TV, maybe your roommates, or even the fridge.

If you’re studying at home, it’s important to set aside those distractions so you won’t derail from your study plan. Turn off your phone or download an app that blocks you from using it for a certain period of time – try Forest (iOS/Android) or Space (iOS/Android). Turn off the TV when studying. Let your roommates know you’re studying so they don’t barge in your room. Don’t study on an empty stomach.

Even if you get distracted and check your phone for a minute, but you check it every five minutes, that will eventually add up and take a significant portion of your study session. If you really can’t stay away from your phone, try looking at it for ten minutes after every 60-minute study session as a ‘reward’ for yourself.

4. Reward Yourself

On that note, if you stayed on track and completed a productive study session, you can motivate yourself with a reward. Whether it’s by taking a bite of your favourite milk chocolate bar after every chapter or watching an episode of Friends after a 3-hour study session, find what successfully motivates you to continue studying and stick to that plan. If chocolate or Friends doesn’t help you stay motivated, try something else that will. As we are all humans, it’s good to reward ourselves once in a while.

young female college student online learning waving during lecture and smiling while studying wearing wireless headphones

5. Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help

At Sprott Shaw, your instructors are always there to help and support you, so don’t be afraid to ask questions when you’re confused about a particular subject. And if the instructors are going too fast, don’t be afraid to ask them to slow down either. You are the student who is learning so it’s important that you’re actually learning and understanding what is being taught by the instructor. Since it’s all online, you can always raise your hand through WebEx’s “raise hand” feature or type in the chat box.

While all of these tips above are critical, it’s important to note that the biggest key to effective and efficient study sessions, is your willingness to learn and “be a good student.” This all boils down to your efforts and how much time and energy you’re willing to put in to get those A’s.


To learn more and get more student tips, see our blogs here.

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