5 Online Learning Skills and Best Practices for Parents Going Back to School

Online learning has many different benefits and is becoming increasingly popular as more online schools are nationally recognized and accredited. The challenge of pursuing a degree online is holding yourself accountable and applying yourself in a non-traditional classroom — especially when you’re a busy parent. Finding out what works best for you will allow you to hit your stride and blaze down the path towards graduation day.

Set a Schedule

One of the perks of online learning is that you choose when to conduct your studies. However, without having to adhere to a rigorous schedule, it is easy to let your schoolwork get pushed to the back burner when other life events take priority. Setting a realistic schedule can help you stay focused on what’s important.

A proper schedule keeps you organized and ensures that you have an adequate amount of time to get your work done. It also allows time to take care of personal errands, spend time with your family, and get a good night’s sleep. Don’t forget to set aside time to be active — sitting too long can be just as unhealthy as smoking.

Devote Yourself

It may be tempting to try to “double dip” to get some of your homework done during your downtime at work or while watching your kids; however, it is best to avoid that practice. To truly get the most out of your studies, devote your time and attention to the task at hand. Higher education is meant to be a thought-provoking practice and offer bigger concepts than the K-12 learning method of memorize, regurgitate and forget. Multitasking can be beneficial in many areas of your life, but when it comes to your studies, don’t cut yourself short. You are going to receive as much as you put into your program so be sure to be diligent about your studies to be as successful as possible.

Make Space

Having a designated learning and studying space is extremely beneficial in achieving your study goals. If you have a quiet space in your home to set aside as a study den, take advantage of it as often as you can. If your home is not the best place for you to focus, consider purchasing some noise canceling headphones and head to your local coffee shop or library. Some students benefit from working outside their home because it forces them to mentally block out what is happening around them. This helps to further bring their attention to what they are reading or the assignment in front of them.

Type of Learning

No one knows what style of learning works best for you except yourself. If you are a visual learner, supplemental YouTube videos about the topic you are covering may be helpful, or perhaps making flash cards for yourself to retain the information. If you are an auditory learner, ask your course instructor if they can recommend any podcasts that you can listen to on your morning commute, or during your afternoon exercise routine that will aid in grasping the concepts being covered in your course. If you prescribe to Gardner’s Multiple Intelligence Theory, finding where your strengths lie will help you discover the instruction type that sets you up for success.

Stay Connected

Some students have admitted that one of the difficulties of taking classes online is the lack of camaraderie. It can feel isolating when your family members and friends cannot relate to the pressures of online education. To alleviate this issue, stay connected with your fellow students and instructor. Luckily, technology has made this easier than ever. There are many different apps and platforms for group discussions and conversation threads such as GroupMe and Slack. This way you can pose questions to the group, share frustrations about assignments and have the ability to converse with others that are being challenged by the same experience.

It is common for the first session of online classes to be a challenge while you find your stride but stick it out for one more round before you write it off as not for you. Education is about acquiring a wealth of knowledge, it is not supposed to feel like a grind. To best take advantage of an online learning platform, make it work for you by applying yourself, staying organized and setting yourself up for success.

Leave a comment