High schools and college campuses all over the country are going to be especially quiet this winter. With the recent surge in COVID-19 cases, many schools are returning to remote learning after the holiday season. It’s no secret that the shift back to online instruction may leave many students feeling overwhelmed and uncertain when it comes to their academic success.
So, it’s more important than ever for students to cultivate effective habits from the start. To help ease the transition, we’re sharing the 10 most common virtual learning mistakes and how your student can avoid them.
- Not Establishing a Routine
There’s absolutely nothing normal about students spending their days at home with very little interaction with teachers and peers. After awhile, it can begin to feel more like a school break rather than a school year. In order to be successful in a virtual learning environment, your student must preserve a sense of normalcy. Meaning, they need to prepare for their day of online learning the same way they would have prepared to attend in person. It helps to maintain a consistent sleep schedule, shower, get dressed, have breakfast and settle into a quiet, distraction-free place for online class / learning.
2. No Dedicated Workspace
When a student is attending classes and completing coursework from home, chances are they’ll be tempted to sleep in, stay in their pajamas all day and study while either in bed or lounging on the couch in front of the tv. But one of the best ways to keep focused and motivated is to have a dedicated space that is exclusively used for completing schoolwork and attending online class.
3. Too Many Distractions
Student’s aren’t permitted to talk, text, browse social media or watch tv during in-person class, so it’s important they try to resist the urge to do so during online learning. Using headphones during class may help to shut out background noises and distractions from siblings, and pets.
4. No Engagement or Collaboration with Peers
Virtual learning doesn’t have to be a solitary experience. We live in a time where technology makes it easy to stay connected to our friends, family, teachers and peers. Make sure your student takes every opportunity to engage during class and participate in available study groups.
5. Not Having the Proper Tools
Aside from having a dependable computer and reliable internet connection, there’s a few other tools that can make your student’s online learning experience a little easier. They’ll need to make sure that the video conferencing application is always up to date on their computer, this will help minimize service interruption and security issues. They’ll also want to research the various cloud services (Google Drive, Dropbox, etc) and determine which one will be best suited for safely storing and handing in their assignments.
Organization is an important component to having a successful online learning experience. Maintaining a calendar will help them keep track of meeting times, study group dates, and assignment deadlines. And breaking up their days to study periods and free time is also helpful when holding themselves accountable to a schedule.
7. Not Taking Breaks
For some students, adjusting to online learning can be a very stressful experience. It’s easy for these students to become disconnected and bury themselves in coursework. Be sure to remind your student to take care of their personal needs such as getting fresh air, going for a walk, eating healthy and taking breaks from screen time.
8. Thinking Online is a Safe Place
With online learning, your son or daughter will be spending a lot more time on the internet. This increased usage, puts them at greater risk of exposure to online safety concerns. Be sure to educate them on topics such as cyber bullying, harassment, sexual solicitation and identity theft. Encourage them to speak up if something seems off or if they feel they’ve become a target in any way.
9. Not Asking Questions
With virtual learning, it’s easy to become a wall flower, blended in with a sea of peers. Speaking up, asking questions, and advocating for oneself are not traits that teens are overly comfortable with. If your student is reluctant to reach out to his / her teacher(s) with questions or concerns – urge them to break out of their comfort zone.
10. Not Knowing When or Who to Ask for Help
Admitting that you need help is sometimes just as difficult as knowing who to turn to, to ask for it. The good news is, whether your student is in high school or college – there’s a whole team of professionals that are dedicated to their success.
- Teachers & Professors are there to offer guidance on specific assignment or course subject matter. Your student should find out what their policy is for virtual meetings and take advantage of this one-on-one time if needed.
- Guidance Counselors & Academic Advisors are responsible for providing educational guidance for students who need assistance with course schedules, course selection, and academic performance. Your student shouldn’t hesitate to reach out and ask for help if they feel that they’re falling behind or if they’re experiencing challenges with their course load.
- An Academic Tutor is able to provide extra support when it comes to specific subject matter. For example your student may require a math tutor if they’re having trouble grasping concepts in their math courses. Most schools and universities have resources available for tutoring.
- Academic Coaches are unlike any of the above resources. They provide a one-on-one experience with students to help them develop the skills and confidence they need to achieve success in any learning environment. An academic coach can help with challenges related to online learning, time management, study skills, test taking, social / emotional barriers, and more.
If your student is struggling with the transition back to virtual learning, you should know that success is achievable with the proper support system! The team of experts at Academic Coaching Specialists are here to help your student not only survive but thrive in online learning.