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Learning Online

Effective Online Learning Strategies

Learning online courses is a great way to develop your skills and gain knowledge in a flexible way. Some of the benefits of online learning include:

  • Developing self-directed learning skills
  • Developing communication skills
  • Flexibility with your schedule

Just like learning in lectures, learning online takes some practice and time to develop strong skills. You need to spend time before, during, and after lectures in order to be successful. We’ve developed some strategies to help you stay productive and learn effectively online.

What to do before learning sessions

  • Review the course syllabus and your note
  • Check in with your instructors and keep communication open
  • Create goals for each session (to-do lists are a great tool)
  • Decide how long you need to dedicate to each learning session
  • Choose a note-taking method and reading strategies
  • Get comfortable, but try to keep proper posture
  • Reduce distractions

What to do during learning sessions

  • Review your session goals and adjust as needed
  • Make connections between concepts
  • Identify learning gaps and focus on what you do not already know
  • Take breaks after a 25-minute session (nature breaks are a great way to de-stress)

What to do after learning sessions

  • Create study questions
  • Quiz yourself
  • Review and chat about course content with others
  • Reflect on what learning strategies worked well

How to set up an effective learning environment

  • Have all your materials accessible in one space
  • Create a study space
  • Let other people in the house know your study schedule
  • Limit distractions (phone, TV, etc.)
  • Identify a time of day when you are most productive
  • Have a list of contacts and resources to get support/guidance when needed

 

Improve your writing and study skills! Book an appointment with a writing advisor and/or academic coach on OSCARplus.  Questions? Email skills@mcmaster.ca

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