While for some taking online courses is a choice, due to the outbreak of COVID-19, commencing online study has now become a necessity for others. Often times, this can lead to a lack of motivation. To counter this, we have found a strategy that will allow you to make the most out of the experience.
The difference in content and curriculum often stays the same between in-person classes and its online counterpart, with the only differentiating factor being their method of delivery. Despite this, it is safe to say that both induce drastically different and unalike experiences.
Initially, reading the header of this article may have been confused. Games? You ask, aren’t they a distractor? Marilla D. Svinicki, director of the Center for Teaching Effectiveness, would agree.
In this context, GAMES is not the conventional pass-time. Instead, it is a mnemonic created by Marilla D. Svinicki that serves as a tool for you to succeed, one that can be used in a virtual learning environment to attain your study goals.
- GOAL ORIENTED STUDY
Upon studying online, it is imperative that you centre your studies around goals. Effective ways to utilise self-made objectives in this case is through deciding upon an end goal and then figuring out the steps you need to take to achieve your objective. From this, you are able to derive sub-goals which will help you work towards what it is you want to attain. By breaking it up into tiers – this will ultimately make the task seem simpler and thus, more achievable.
Pro Tip: Writing down your goals has been proven to increases your likelihood of achieving them.
- ACTIVE STUDYING
Active Studying is what essentially allows you to take the course materials and make something more of it. It allows you to go beyond what is taught by curating your own understanding by challenging yourself. Active studying include techniques such as making diagrams, flashcards, quizzing yourself and making your own questions as opposed to relying solely on those in a text book. This will not only allow you to grasp patterns and correlations, but it will also ensure you are prepared for assessments as you have exposed yourself to a wide range of material. Further, this will also allow you to formulate questions and discussion points with lecturers, other students and yourself. Overall, through being active with your studying and deviating from the conventional textbook approach to learning – it will allow the virtual delivery of your course content to feel more personalised and dynamic.
- MEANINGFUL AND MEMORABLE STUDYING
The goal with meaningful and memorable study is simple: learn to acquire knowledge, not to accomplish a specified grade. This is what ultimately makes your study meaningful, as understanding what is taught as opposed to utilising rope memorisation will not only allow you to be better prepared for assessments – but it will undoubtedly assist you throughout your entire career.
Pro Tip: Therefore, when curating your goals as opposed to writing down ‘get an A or High Distinction’ – you should write goals such as ‘have a comprehensive understanding of this topic’ or ‘be able to apply this to facets of my own life’.
Overall, enter into your classes with the intention to learn and understand the content as opposed to get through it – this will encourage and induce you to make the most of your online education.
- EXPLAINING MATERIALS IN ORDER TO LEARN
This step is crucial to formulating a comprehensive understanding of the course content as it also puts teaching in your hands. Here, you will play a role similar to your lecturers - by either explaining the content to fellow classmates or even to yourself. This will allow you to be able to somewhat emulate the same in-class experience as the method will subsequently facilitate an insight and awareness to the subject at hand. This strays from the ineffective method of merely memorising definitions as you are stimulated to figure out ‘How?’ and ‘Why?’ as opposed to ‘What?’.
To be able to teach something, you would have to know something through and through to be able to answer questions, pose real life examples and make correlations to other topics mentioned in the course outline. Therefore, through explaining the materials in order to learn, it will expose you to a wide array of the above which will allow you to gather a more all-inclusive and thorough comprehension of the materials.
Last but not least is the very foundation that will allow you to make the most of your online education: self-monitoring. What many will find during these times is that keeping motivated and exercising self-discipline to complete your tasks and not fall behind is quite difficult in an environment where there are more distractions present. Therefore, it is important to regularly monitor yourself and keep check of your progress. This can be accomplished by setting up a timetable for yourself, taking time to make a study space that separates you from procrastination triggers and reflecting each week on your progress, what you can improve upon and what you did best.
Overall, studying online during this current climate is a learning process in and of itself - so take the time to figure out what works best for you. In the long run, your performance during these times will essentially speak towards your resilience, motivation and self-discipline. So, make the most of your time studying online: while it may not be ideal for some, it will ultimately equip you with invaluable skills that will follow you through the rest of your personal and professional life.