Online learning: Tips & information for students

Valentin Schinnerl and John Roman, U-Multirank

Sep 23, 2020 12:52(CET)

Online learning Tips and information for students

Online learning may be something you are already familiar with, but for others COVID-19 has forced them into making the switch over from in-person learning. Whether you’re an online-learning-veteran, or a first timer like many, we have compiled a list of our top 10 tips to help you make the best of your online learning experience. This list will look at some key points that will help you with online learning, for example: time management skills, self-discipline, willpower and a strong motivation. Read our top 10 tips below to get started. Do you have any other tips that work well for you? Feel free to share them with us via social media.

  1. Understand online learning practices and expectations:

Online learning is not easier than a normal course in university. You need to schedule enough time, focus on the coursework and to try to stay concentrated. Some things to expect:

  • Active participation in virtual classrooms
  • You should feel comfortable working with technology
  • You’ll need to be effective with your time
  • Keep an eye on your time management and deadlines
  • Be self-disciplined


  1. Make sure that your internet connection is working properly and make sure to save your documents:

Everyone has a friend, or knows someone who forgot to save their documents and ended up in a stressful situation, so make sure that this never happens to you. Save your documents in a cloud, or on a hard drive and it’s always a good idea to save your professors contact details, too.

The internet connection is very important, too, so make sure you have a strong connection, because otherwise you might not be able to follow your lesson, or in a worst case scenario give your presentation. 

  1. Create yourself a good working environment:

You should find a spot in your home where you can work at any time, it should be quiet, organised and where you can avoid distractions – so it might be a good idea to switch off your smartphone too. Additionally, you can also inform your roommates, or family members of when you’re learning or studying, so they can be supportive and minimise any distractions from their part.

  1. Identify your class goals:

If you’re familiar with in-person learning, then you might remember the beginning of the semesters where everyone is in the classroom and the professor goes over the course content, objectives and time schedule of the lecture or seminar. With online learning it is even more important that you identify your own learning goals and objectives from the study course, to ensure you’re staying on track and holding yourself accountable. It might be a good idea to take notes and to review them as you continue with your online course(s).

  1. Build a study plan:

  • Plan ahead: A good time management plan is important in avoiding a stressful rush at the end of the semester to get all your assignments done. By planning ahead it gives you the opportunity to be flexible – especially when you need it most (like a mini-vacation to destress).
  • Create to-do lists: At the start of each week, make a to-do list of the tasks you need to complete by the end of the week. This will help you stay on track with your studying.
  • Set time limits: Try to figure out how much time you need to spend on certain tasks; it will help you improve your time management skills and better gage your needs. Additionally, make sure to take breaks – this is important to keep your mind fresh and avoid fatigue which can slow you down and make you less efficient.
  • Try to stick on your time plans: Procrastination is the worst enemy of someone who is taking part in an online course, so make sure that you are not falling behind and make sure that you stay focused and organized.


  1. Don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it:

It’s easy to get lost, and normal to need help at times. Whether it’s with understanding technology, remembering deadlines or assignments, or simply just feeling overwhelmed by the pressures of learning during a pandemic – don’t be afraid to stop and ask for help. That’s what your professors are there for, and your peers understand first-hand the struggles you may also be feeling, so send an email, make a call, or write a text when you need help.

  1. Review, revise and repeat your lessons:

Also in online studies, repeating, revising and reviewing are the key to success. On the one hand you won't fall behind and on the other hand it will help you to remember the content of your course, which will increase your chances of getting a higher score.

  1. Take study breaks:

It’s impossible to stay focused and concentrated for 12 hours, so make sure that you take enough breaks. It could help to set a timer for 60 minutes and then do a 5-minute break. You will feel a big difference with your renewal energy. Furthermore, it is also important to take longer breaks (eat something or take a walk). For some people it is important to maintain a balance between studying and physical activities, so it is a good idea to do some sports or take a long walk in the evening.

  1. Take part in online discussions:

You don’t have to learn everything in isolation – connecting with your virtual classmates is a great idea! You can talk about problems, your online learning experience and the content of the class. You can also share study-tricks, or you can give some input for the course and engage with new ideas. It is also very important to make sure that you do not disregard behavioral etiquette on the internet.

  1. Stay motivated:

Don’t forget what your end goal is when furthering your education. Keeping your eye on the goal will help motivate you when you’re feeling tired, overwhelmed, or simply disinterested at times. Especially during a global pandemic, it may be even more tempting to get distracted, but stay motivated by creating also short-term goals that offer immediate gratification. And don’t forget:

  • Create yourself a study routine
  • Decorate your study space with some motivational quotes
  • Always remember why you are taking the course
  • There will be productive and less productive days and that is fine
  • Get some healthy snacks nearby
  • Reward yourself after completing a challenging task
  • Stay positive and keep your chin up.



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