The History of Online Learning

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The History of Online Learning

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The history of online education has gained newfound significance in recent times. Presently, over a third of all students engage in at least one online course.

Nevertheless, achieving success in online learning differs somewhat from excelling in traditional on-campus courses. Here’s what you should anticipate and how to prepare for it.

First of all, online learning isn’t new or easy.

It’s crucial to dispel the notion that online learning is a novel, effortless endeavor. While online courses do offer flexibility in your study approach, the substance of the courses themselves often mirrors what you’d encounter in a traditional campus-based curriculum.

Furthermore, online students may encounter unique challenges, which we’ll delve into shortly. However, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t consider online learning—it simply underscores the importance of not assuming it will require less effort than a conventional college program.

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Pick Your Learning Format

Begin by determining which online class format aligns better with your preferences – or perhaps, consider trying both!

  • Synchronous learning. This term implies “simultaneous learning.” In synchronous courses, you’re required to attend virtual class sessions in real-time, typically through videoconferencing. An advantage of this format is the opportunity for live interaction. You can engage in real-time discussions with your instructors and fellow classmates.
  • Asynchronous learning. This term denotes “non-simultaneous learning.” Within this course type, you’ll access prerecorded lessons at your convenience, adhering to your own schedule. It offers greater flexibility, a feature cherished by many students. Additionally, you can still actively participate in discussions with your professor and peers, albeit not in real-time.

Know Your Tech Tools

As an online learner, your technology tools become your trusted companions. This doesn’t necessarily entail possessing the latest cutting-edge devices, but it does require that your laptop, desktop computer, or tablet is capable of meeting the technological demands of your online course. This entails the ability to install and run any necessary software for your coursework.

Of course, a reliable internet connection is paramount.

Facing technical difficulties? Most colleges and universities offer resources to assist you in such situations. These resources may encompass a range of options, from providing Wi-Fi hotspots to supplying each student with a laptop. It’s also important to be well-informed about how to contact your school’s tech support team should you require assistance.

After the pandemic, 73% of American students desire to maintain online learning.

Make Space to Study

While on-campus students have the privilege of computer labs and study lounges, as an online learner, the majority of your study hours will likely unfold within the confines of your own home.

Here’s how you can fashion an ideal study space:

  • Invest in an ergonomic desk chair for comfort.
  • Ensure your desk is of the right height for your needs.
  • Equip your space with a power strip to conveniently charge your devices.
  • Add some greenery in the form of plants to enhance air quality.
  • Adorn your workspace with inspirational posters for motivation.
  • Keep a water bottle on hand to stay adequately hydrated.
  • Combat distractions with noise-cancelling headphones.
  • And feel free to include any other items that aid your concentration.

It’s also important to establish boundaries, especially if you’re the go-to person within your family. Make certain your children, spouse, parents, or pets are aware of when you require uninterrupted time to focus on your assignments.

Practice Online Learning Success Skills

Online learners may need to build new skills – like how to stop procrastination before it starts. Or how to ask for help with a new concept. Or how to stay motivated while studying at home.

It’s not that traditional students don’t need to learn these things, too. They do. But as an online learner, you might have to try a little harder. It’s not as easy to turn to the person next to you to ask a question, or stay a few minutes after class to talk to the professor.

But you can still get the most out of your classes and have an amazing college experience.

Here are 6 success skills every online learner should know:

  • How to connect with peers online: Everything from starting a social media group to scheduling virtual meetups could help you stay in touch.
  • How to get help with something: Be proactive about asking for a hand – whether it’s tutoring, tech support, or just a question you want answered.
  • How to manage your time: Set a schedule and stick to it. Use apps (or an old-school agenda book) to help you stay organized, create to-do lists, and reach goals.
  • How to participate: It could be in a virtual class meeting or on an online discussion board. Either way, get comfortable with weighing in!
  • How to avoid distractions: Sometimes willpower needs a little help. Use apps to block social media while you study. Keep your music low. And, avoid doing too many things at once!
  • How to take it one day at a time: Adjusting to online learning happens quickly for some learners. For others, it takes longer. Give yourself time to find your rhythm and the success strategies that work for you!

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Sources for school statistics is the U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics.

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