How to study online
Learning from home Mondays are quite different to regular Mondays.
They’re a bit like getting into a swimming pool using the steps. The acclimatisation period is longer. The stark contrast between Sunday night and Monday morning is softened.
And if you’re wondering how, we’re here to tell you exactly how you go about studying online, from anywhere, at any time.
First things first, set up a schedule.
Learning schedules and online learning go together like Batman and Robin.
Break the content down into chunks using the Termly Planner given to you under your “Termly Planners and Notices” icon – if you’re the type to get overwhelmed, assign yourself a “chunk” a day.
Discover why you procrastinate — (if you do) — and if you don’t, give yourself a pat for being one step closer to bagging yourself the “student of the year” reward.
A good reward for sticking to your schedule could be to exercise or relax for 15 minutes while you give yourself a well-deserved brain break.
Create a study routine – make it work for you and the task will flow effortlessly. Eventually, even your rewards will seem less exciting as an even better reward will be ticking things off your list.
Be clear as to why you want to do well – make yourself a list and put it up somewhere where you can see it often. This will form part of your motivation. Some examples could be:
- I want to learn more and improve myself.
- I want to develop the habit of pursuing excellence.
- I want to become a more focused and disciplined student.
- I want to have a meaningful career.
- I want to provide well for myself and my future family.
- I want to know that I gave it my best shot.
- I want to live with no regrets.
This will come in handy on those days when you’re not feeling motivated.
If you’re a mind map type of person, this is the time to use one in order to gather your information.
Fact: Mind maps mimic how the brain works.
Second fact: Creating mind maps and study notes make you look 40% more intellectual.
Third fact: Gaining a clear understanding of what is on the mind map, can make you 90% more intellectual.
Making a “boring” subject interesting while learning online
When you find it difficult to study because the subject is “boring”, ask yourself:
“Is this subject really boring or does it seem that way because I have closed my mind off to it?”
Ask yourself some interesting questions to kick start your brain:
When was this technique or theory developed?
Who developed it?
What problem did it solve?
How would the world be different today if it wasn’t for this technique?
If you remain curious, nothing gets boring because an open mind leads to endless possibilities and learning. This curiosity should automatically lead to the brain understanding the information and not just memorising it.
This approach is more effective and will keep you motivated.
Look for gaps in your understanding
If you’re unable to explain it, chances are, you don’t understand it. Make it work for you – break it down to suit your understanding.
Study in short bursts
Aka, “spaced learning”.
The theory behind this is that learning involves the creation of memories.
Memories are formed through links between neurons. In order for these memories to become embedded, the neurons have to be left undisturbed for a period of time.
That’s why we learn better in short bursts of online studying. This approach gives the neurons time to store and embed these new memories.
Don’t expect to feel motivated all the time
Strangely enough, one of the best ways to deal with a lack of motivation is to stop expecting to feel motivated all the time.
The fact is that no one feels motivated all the time.
So don’t rely on feeling motivated in order to get the work done.
Sometimes the motivation just won’t be there.
That’s why you need a study routine and study habits, because systems always beat motivation.
Exercise your brain
To get motivated to study, you need to train your brain. Think of your brain as a muscle.
Continuously exercise your brain, even when you’re not studying.
You can do this by reading, thinking through challenging world issues, doing puzzles, or journaling, walking outside, stretching, kicking a ball. The greater the variety of ways in which you train your brain, the stronger and more flexible your brain will become.
Get enough sleep and create a healthy eating plan!
Organise your time
For each subject, make a list of the lessons and tasks that you need to complete in order to be ready for the assessments.
Download a study schedule template if you need one and block out the times you have available each day to study.
As far as possible, choose blocks of time that are the same each day (e.g. 3:30pm to 5:30pm) so that your online school schedule is easy to remember.
Create a daily plan which lists the most important lessons and tasks to be completed for the day.
Review your study schedule at the end of each week.
Assess whether you’re on track to reach your study goals by assessment time. If you’re not, adjust your schedule by finding additional blocks of time for studying. Remember that up until Grade 9, the assessments are self-paced and can be completed online whenever you feel ready to take them.
If working in a group works for you, find a motivated “online study buddy” on the “Forum” to help you and your studies.
Make online learning active, not passive
Passive learning is where you try to absorb information and knowledge. It’s based on the idea that you’re an empty vessel waiting to be filled.
We actually construct knowledge by integrating the new material with what we already know and have already experienced.
So, if you want to learn a new topic quickly and effectively, use as much active learning as you can.
Examples of online active learning are:
- Finding applications of the new topic in your own life
- Doing case studies where the new ideas or theories are put into a specific context
- Reviewing and commenting on the work you have already completed
- Thinking of ways to apply concepts to problems you come across.
Schedule time for relaxation
This may seem obvious, but when your focus is studying for an upcoming assessment, it’s easy to forget that you need time to relax – therefore, you need to schedule relaxation to recharge and learn better.
Focus on the process, not the result but let the result drive you.
Try to create healthy habits – put your phone in another room, keep a bottle of water with you, have fresh air ventilating your room and get yourself some healthy snacks. Try to avoid having big meals as they tend to make you feel tired and heavy.
Set a timer – this includes a start time and end time but, have the alarm in another room so that you don’t keep checking to see how much time you have left.
Congratulations! You now have a head full of useful, new information and you’re ready to add even more to it.
Mindset is everything, and maybe a nap with some good snacks help too. Give yourself two weeks and your schedule should flow with effortless ease. For optimal results, we highly recommend sitting upright, maintaining a good posture and avoiding your bed or couch – unless of course, it’s below 5 degrees – in which case we highly recommend not leaving your bed or couch at all.